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In NY, vaccinated teens can enter raffle for free college


ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Vaccinated kids aged 12 to 17 will have a chance to win a full ride to public universities and colleges in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.

The governor said the state will raffle off 50 scholarships, which would cover four years of tuition, room and board, books and supplies.

New York will hold weekly drawings on Wednesdays to randomly select 10 winners. Parents or guardians can enter children who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine since May 12.

Schools across the country are using mascots, food trucks and prize giveaways to try to get kids vaccinated before school lets out for the summer.

Cuomo said children who get vaccinated earlier will have the best chance at winning. It’s unclear when applications for the lottery will open up, but people can sign up for notifications on a state website.

“If you get the vaccine earlier, you’ll have more chances to win because you’ll be in the first-week pool, the second-week pool, the third-week pool, the fourth-week pool, et cetera,” Cuomo said at a Wednesday press conference.

It’s the state’s latest push to get more people vaccinated at a time when state health officials say many eager New Yorkers have likely already gotten inoculated.

Since Monday, New York has been offering scratch tickets for a $5 million lottery for people who get vaccinated at ten of roughly 30 state-run vaccination sites. That pilot program runs through Friday.

New York administered 788,145 doses in the seven days through Tuesday. That’s down from just over 1 million in the seven days ending Tuesday, May 11.

About 45% of New York’s 20 million residents are fully vaccinated, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, compared to the national average of 39.5%.

Few minors have been fully vaccinated so far: about 8.7% of people aged 12 to 17, according to state health data shared by Cuomo. That’s compared with 37.5% of young adults below the age of 25, about half of people aged 35-54 and 69.5% of those over 75.