University Offering £5,000 Cash Prizes For Vaccinated Students | TOTUM
Ben HaywardAugust 8th

A UK university is offering cash prizes of £5,000 to students who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

As part of ongoing efforts to incentivise young people to have the jabs, all students at Sussex University will be entered into the draw, with 10 winners receiving £5,000 if they can prove they are either double-jabbed or medically exempt.

The prize draw will take place at the end of November to allow students enough time to get vaccinated.


Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the university’s vice-chancellor, professor Adam Tickell, said: “We’re going to automatically enter every student in, and unless they have said they want to opt out, after we’ve given them the opportunity to have vaccines – this will be about 12 weeks after the announcement – we’ll just randomly choose 10 names.

“If they can prove they’ve been double-vaccinated, or indeed if they are medically exempt, we’ll make them the award. We’re not bribing them. What we’re doing is we’re just giving an incentive.”

Jade Altass-Hye, who graduated from Sussex University this summer, says the cash prize draw is a good idea. Speaking to the Guardian, Jade said: “Uptake in the vaccine among students seems to be really low. I’ve been lucky to get both of mine but I think this idea is really smart.

“It’s an interesting way to spend the funding but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea to help encourage people.


“I don’t know if people would think: ‘Oh, I’ve got to go and get the vaccine now’ just because of the prize draw as there are other factors, but I would be entering it if I was still a student. Overall, I think it’s a good idea.”

Prof Tickell said that although the prize draw may not impact the numbers choosing to get the vaccine it was still worth trying, even if it only provided a slight boost to the numbers.

“Whilst these are significant prizes for our students, the cost to the university is small compared with the human, social and financial cost if students were to experience the kind of disruption we faced last year,” he said, adding that Sussex is hoping to provide a university experience that’s ‘as close to normal as possible’ this academic year. 

The universities minister, Michelle Donelan, said: “Vaccines are the surest way to put Covid behind us and for students to reclaim the freedoms that enrich university life, and I encourage all eligible students to take up the offer of both vaccine doses.

“The department is encouraging universities to look at creative ways to boost uptake and to discuss the possibility of pop-up centres with local health partners - making it quick and easy for students to grab a jab.”

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