State officials are temporarily raffling off full tuition as well as room and board scholarships to any SUNY or CUNY school to students who get the COVID-19 vaccine, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday.
Starting Thursday, May, 27 until July, 7, students between the ages of 12 and 17 years old who get the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, the only COVID-19 approved for children, are eligible to register for a chance to win the scholarship. A total of 10 scholarships will be awarded each week with winners announced every Wednesday.
The governor is offering the scholarship in order to help boost interest in getting the vaccine as vaccination rates across the state take a downward turn. On Wednesday, Cuomo said state officials have seen a 47% decline in the number of people getting the vaccine.
About 52% of New York state residents have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine with about 45% now vaccinated against the virus, according to the New York state COVID-19 tracker.
Cuomo added the greatest need for vaccinations across the state are among children ages 12 who make up for 5% of the state’s overall number of COVID-19 tests but 10% of its positivity rate. “That’s the highest differential of any age group,” said Cuomo. “That group is the lowest percent vaccinated by far in the state.”
Children 12 and up only became eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine earlier this month and unlike other groups, have not been as pressingly encouraged to get the shot. Now, the governor says, young people are a priority when it comes to the battle against COVID due to plans to fully reopen schools, colleges and universities across the state.
“So what do we do. We identify the need, increasing participation, especially among the young people and get creative,” Cuomo said.
The governor stressed that students who get the first shot of the vaccine earlier have a better chance of being winning a scholarship since they remain in the raffle pool every week.
“It’s a significant incentive for students and, by the way, it’s an incentive for parents,” Cuomo said. ” If you are worried about paying college tuition, tell your 12 to 17-year-old to go out, get a shot.”
Families or students can register here to get more information on the raffle.