Quebec COVID-19 vaccine lottery 'begins' - site is down

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MONTREAL -- Starting Sunday morning, Quebecers who have received at least a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine can register to participate in Loto-Quebec draws, which will take place every Friday in August.

To be eligible for a $150,000 prize or a $10,000 scholarship, you must have received your first dose and register online.

The site, however, remains with some kinks to be worked out. Attempting to register on Sunday morning was met with the following error: "We are currently in the process of improving the quality of our services: the system is undergoing maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience caused, we invite you to reconnect later."

"Would be great if it was working," said one disappointed citizen. "Only in Quebec."

A grand prize will also be drawn among Quebecers who are fully vaccinated by August 31. Speed is of the essence, however, as those wanting in on the draw have a minimum of four weeks between the two doses.

The draw for the $1 million grand prize will be held on September 3, along with 16 $20,000 scholarships.

Minister of Health and Social Services Christian Dubé, and Minister of Finance, Economy and Innovation Eric Girard announced the creation of this lottery with huge smiles on July 16.

The government hopes to reach its objective of a complete vaccination of 75 per cent of its population aged 12 and over against COVID-19, in each age category, by August 31.

As of July 22, 72.9 per cent of the Quebec population had received at least one dose of vaccine, a percentage that climbs to 83.3 per cent for those aged 12 and over.

Overall, 59.8 per cent of those aged 12 and over were adequately vaccinated, having received the required two doses, according to data from the Quebec Institute of Public Health (INSPQ).

Since the beginning of the pandemic, at least 376,530 Quebecers have contracted COVID-19 and 11,239 people have died.

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