Published: July 21, 2021

Poland: Totalizator Sportowy "More than 2.8 million Poles have already registered for the National Vaccination Programme Lottery"

More than 2.8 million Poles have already registered for the National Vaccination Programme Lottery, which was launched on July 1, the state-owned lottery company announced on Tuesday.

The value of the prizes granted so far is PLN 2.2 million (ca. EUR 480,000) with another weekly lottery draw planned for Wednesday, Totalizator Sportowy's press office also said.

The vaccine lottery is an incentive for people to get vaccinated against Covid-19. Everyone above the age of 18 who has undergone the entire vaccination procedure and has registered for the lottery by September 30 is eligible. Registration can be done by internet through the Internet Patient Account or by calling an information line.

Totalizator Sportowy (TS) said that on Wednesday, July 21, participants can take part in the second weekly draw with five prizes of PLN 50,000 (EUR 10,880) and 60 electric scooters to be won. The same prizes will be available for the next 10 weekly draws.

TS also said that on a daily basis participants can win instant cash prizes of PLN 500 (EUR 108.81) and PLN 200 (EUR 43.53), given to every 500th and every 2,000th eligible person, respectively.

There are also monthly draws which will bring six cash prizes of PLN 100,000 (EUR 21,760) or one of six Toyota Corolla cars.

The final prize draw will take place on October 6, when there will be two cash prizes of PLN 1 million (EUR 217,578) and two Toyota C-HR cars to be won.

The Totalizator Sportowy press office said that the total prize pool in the lottery is nearly PLN 22 million (EUR 4.79 million), both in cash and prizes.


Feature: Poland bets on lottery to entice COVID-19 vaccine skeptics

WARSAW, July 19 (Xinhua) -- Faced with the challenge of persuading the vaccine skeptics especially among the young and rural segments of the Polish public as the country's COVID-19 vaccination campaign appears to be losing steam, Poland's government has decided to offer financial incentives to the vaccine-wary.

The country's National Vaccination Program Lottery, which kicked off on July 1, has already convinced many Poles to take part -- many of whom have been vaccinated earlier this year. Prizes include cash ranging from 200 Polish zloty (PLN, 51.5 U.S. dollars) to one million PLN, electric mopeds and hybrid cars.

Smaller cash prizes are drawn immediately, while the larger prizes are handed out weekly. The first draw of larger cash prizes of 50,000 PLN and mopeds was held on July 14.

The top prizes -- two cash prizes of one million PLN each and two new cars -- will be handed out during the final draw in October. Over two million Poles have already signed up during the first two weeks of July, and more than 4,000 have already received their prizes.

As of Monday, over 32 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the country of 38 million.

Vaccination rates vary by the country's regions. Large cities have seen half or close to half of their total population fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Rural communities are lagging behind, especially in the conservative eastern and southern parts of the country, where in some districts fewer than one in six inhabitants have received two vaccine doses.

The Polish government's vaccination program coordinator has noted with concern that the number of people who sign up for a vaccination appointment is on a steady decline.

"Our greatest challenge is to convince Poles to get vaccinated," Michal Dworczyk, who is also chief of staff of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, said at a press conference in early July. "This week, almost one million vaccine doses were not sent to the vaccination stations due to a lack of interest from people."

Dworczyk noted that the first seven days of July saw a 30 percent week-on-week drop in registrations, and that some of the country's vaccination stations may have to be closed due to lack of interest.

Reacting to the drop in demand, the Polish government has decided to sell its surplus vaccines to other countries, such as Ukraine and Georgia, even though herd immunity is still far off in the country.

The lottery-based incentives are generally welcomed by those who have favored vaccination from the start, even though their direct benefits are currently unclear.

"I have been vaccinated already, so the lottery didn't really affect my decision," Piotr Karpinski, a guide in Warsaw, told Xinhua. "But many are still hesitating, and if there is a way to convince those people that vaccination is the way to protect society against the coronavirus, then I will happily participate. Besides, the main prize is one million zloty, and I would very much like to win that."

"No one knows whether the lottery will encourage 10,000 people or 100,000 people," Pawel Palka, who runs a language school in Warsaw, told Xinhua. "However, young people will perhaps consider this an opportunity." Combined with the European Union's (EU) Digital COVID Certificate, which allows easy travel for vaccinated people within the bloc, Palka thinks the lottery might offer a concrete benefit to a group of people who otherwise do not feel threatened very much by the coronavirus.

However, lottery or not, the vaccine-hesitant members of the Polish public appear to be still refusing to get inoculated. "The time they took to evaluate the effectiveness of the vaccines is simply too short to my liking," commented Lilla Grzelak in an interview with Xinhua. "Other vaccines and medicines have to be tested for years before approval, so I think we have too little information on the possible side-effects."

The 59-year-old has recently started to consider getting vaccinated anyway in order to be able to travel abroad for her work. "I joked to my friends that the lottery had changed my mind, but it was due to the travel restrictions, really.

"However, a friend of mine has emailed me some articles about the worrying developments around the vaccines and the new Delta variant, so now I'm on the fence again." (1 PLN = 0.26 U.S. dollar) Enditem

© Public Gaming Research Institute. All rights reserved.