The college scholarship incentive for Maryland students between the ages of 12 to 17, who get vaccinated against COVID-19, is nearing its end. After a two-month campaign, which launched in July as spearheaded by Gov. Larry Hogan with the Maryland Higher Education Commission, the VaxU Scholarship Promotion will culminate its final draw on Labor Day.
The People reported that a total of 20 college scholarships would be raffled off among the 12 to 17-year-olds who have gotten at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine before the deadline. The winners will either get a Maryland 529 College Investment Plan or Maryland 529 Prepaid College Trust Contract, covering $1 million in college fees, which may also be applied if the students prefer to attend a private college or a university outside the state.
As of press time, Maryland has already raffled off nine batches of the college scholarships, but there are at least four more draws on September 6. The VaxU Scholarship Promotion will randomly generate the winners' anonymized numbers based on the teens' records at state-sanctioned vaccination hubs. However, those who get their jabs at a federal facility will not be included in the raffle draw.
Increase in Vaccination Rate
After launching the incentive, vaccination among the 12 to 17 years old has risen from 15 percent to 66.5 percent, per WTOP. Maryland Secretary of Health Dennis R. Schrader believes that, aside from the scholarship, the jump in the vaccination rate may have also been triggered by the full approval of Pfizer vaccines in August for 16 years old and older.
"People who had told us previously that they didn't get vaccinated because they were waiting for full approval - well, as far as the Pfizer product is concerned, that's gone," Schrader told the Washington radio station, adding that there's no more reason to remain unvaccinated since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has signed off on the safety of Pfizer.
However, Pfizer vaccines for 12 to 15-year-olds are still under emergency use authorization until the pharmaceutical company can submit more data on its safety and efficacy. The state's health officials also said that 81 percent of the adult age group are now fully vaccinated, but about a million more Marylanders have not yet gotten the jab.
Other State's College Scholarship Incentives
Before Maryland, Ohio has also incentivized 12 to 17-year-old students to get vaccinated by offering a Vax-a-Million lottery in May. Two winners have been given scholarships at an Ohio university.
Kentucky, Illinois, West Virginia, and Delaware have handed out between five to 20 scholarships as well, but New York has the biggest promise, allowing 50 vaccinated youngsters to get a full-ride for college for $1 million each.
Colorado will provide $500,000 in college money for one vaccinated teenager, while Missouri is giving out $10,000 in cash or education savings to 900 kids who have been fully vaccinated. In Virginia, scholarship winners will get their prizes after they graduate from high school.
Apart from scholarships or cash, some states also give out trucks, guns, and various free products in collaboration with local businesses.
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