Vaccine lottery? Legault says all ideas are on the table to convince youth to get immunized

To convince young people still reluctant to go get vaccinated against COVID-19, Premier François Legault, after receiving his second dose Monday, even floated the idea of a lottery.

The Minister of Health, Christian Dubé, had already pointed out last week that vaccination is progressing well in Quebec, in all age groups, except among 18 to 39-year-olds.

In this group, one in three people were not vaccinated as of June 15. Two thirds of these people live in Montreal and Laval.

There is a "special challenge" in these two regions, Legault acknowledged Monday morning.

Asked if it was time to offer some kind of reward with the vaccination, for the good of all, Legault opined.

"Yes, absolutely. We're not ruling out anything at this point, including lotteries or rewards of any kind." he said. 

Pressed to elaborate on a possible "COVID lottery," he declined. "Christian [Dubé] is working on it. When he is ready, he will announce it."

Loto-Quebec confirmed Monday that it is "in a first stage of discussions" with the government, which is considering several options, said a spokesman for the Crown corporation, Renaud Dugas.

Currently, more than 75 per cent of Quebecers have received their first dose, the percentage of those who have obtained two doses is much lower at 17 per cent, the premier said.

To reach young people, he also said that public health teams go "where they are," notably in parks, with the Vaccin-O-Bus.

PREMIER LEGAULT GETS HIS SECOND DOSE

Legault received his second dose of the Pfizer vaccine Monday morning at a vaccination centre at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal.

It was Régine Laurent who administered the shot in his arm. The former president of the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ) is a retired nurse.

"I got the best of it with Régine," Legault said with a smile when he saw her. He started to chat, but she interrupted him: "First the vaccine, then the chat. For the next few minutes, I'm the boss," she said.

After his 15-minute post-vaccination wait, Legault said he was very happy to have had his second dose, after thanking all the staff involved in the mass vaccination campaign.

He invited all Quebecers to receive their second dose of vaccine as soon as possible to increase vaccine protection.

"It is important for oneself and for the vulnerable people around us," he insisted, recalling that the two doses will allow everyone to travel abroad in addition to contributing to our collective immunity to return to a normal life.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on June 21, 2021.