Businesses and communities across the NWT are finding creative ways to encourage Covid-19 vaccination uptake — some in the form of big-ticket prizes and giveaways.
Several Yellowknife-based businesses are offering discounts and prizes for people who get both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, while Tuktoyaktuk has launched a Crush Covid-19 Cash Giveaway.
There will be two draws in Tuktoyaktuk: one on July 15 with a top prize of $3,000, and one on August 15 with a top prize of $10,000.
Entrants must be partially vaccinated to qualify for the first draw and fully vaccinated to qualify for the second.
Erwin Elias, the mayor of the hamlet, said while there is no survey to gauge how much the giveaway is impacting vaccination turnout, there has been an increase in the number of people who have registered for a vaccine since the initiative was announced.
“I’m positive that this incentive is helping for sure,” he said.
As of June 25, 49 percent of the adult population of Tuktoyaktuk is fully vaccinated and 58 percent is partially vaccinated, according to the most recent figures on the NWT Covid-19 dashboard.
Farther south, the Town of Normal Wells is hosting a pop-up vaccine clinic and raffle on June 29 and July 8, with support from the Norman Wells Health Centre, Norman Wells Fire Department, and the NWT Association of Communities.
Adult entrants can win return airfare to Edmonton for two and youth can win a new iPad.
Both fully and partially vaccinated residents are invited to enter at the pop-up clinic or town hall.
As of June 25, the Town of Norman Wells leads the territory in partially vaccinated adults, at 79 percent.
NWT businesses show support
Air Tindi launched its own specialized giveaway to encourage vaccine uptake in several communities across the NWT.
“[We’re getting] lots of entries, lots of attention, lots of shares on social media, pretty good buzz — and we’re happy with that,” Air Tindi president, Chris Reynolds told Cabin Radio.
“We’re continuing the campaign in communities and dropping off flyers and making sure that every opportunity is given for people to be reminded to go out and get vaccinated.”
The giveaway features prizes like a lifetime of free travel with the airline, a new Skidoo, and a trip to see the Edmonton Oilers. Reynolds told the CBC the total value of the giveaway is around $100,000.
The giveaway is open to residents in Behchokǫ̀, Fort Simpson, Gamètì, Hay River, Łutselk’e, Wekweètì, and Whatì.
Residents have until September 15 to enter by submitting a photo of their immunization card or of themselves receiving their second shot.
Meanwhile, other Yellowknife businesses are rallying around the Crush Covid Incentive Program and Draw.
Through the draw, any NWT resident who is fully vaccinated by September 10 can enter to win $10,000 in cash, among other prizes.
Through the incentive program, any NWT resident who receives their second shot between June 11 and July 30 can also redeem incentives from participating local businesses. Those include a free beverage or dessert from Copperhouse Eatery and Lounge, a 10 percent meal discount at Bullocks Bistro, two hours of free online tutoring from Tutor Doctor, and the chance to win one of two $100 gift cards from Sun Dog Adventures.
Both the incentive program and draw require proof of vaccination.
More communities to launch incentives
In May, the NWT Association of Communities worked with the territorial government to launch a $100,000 Vaccination Promotion Fund. Indigenous and community governments were invited to apply to receive up to $10,000 for local “vaccine promotion activities.”
“Communities know their residents best and are uniquely positioned to help us reach our vaccine uptake targets,” Julie Green, NWT’s minister of Health and Social Services said in a statement.
“I am confident that this collaboration between the GNWT, the NWT Association of Communities, and Indigenous and community governments will improve vaccine uptake and help us get closer to relaxing restrictions in the NWT and get back to the things we love.”
On Friday it was announced that municipal governments in Wekweètì, Fort Resolution, Tulita, Hay River, Norman Wells, and Tuktoyaktuk, as well as the Sahtu Secretariat, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Tłı̨chǫ government, Gwich’in Tribal Council, and Behdzi Ahda’ First Nation will all be receiving funding for vaccine promotion activities between now and September.
Among applicants’ plans are evening events, pop-up clinics, youth vaccine ambassadors, on-the-land focused prizes, and takeout meals at clinics.
65 percent of NWT adults fully vaccinated
As of June 25, 65 percent of adult NWT residents are fully vaccinated and 71 percent are partially vaccinated against Covid-19.
Yellowknife, Dettah, and Ndilǫ still lead the NWT in the number of adult residents who are fully vaccinated.
Colville Lake has the lowest coverage, with 23 percent of adults fully vaccinated and 33 percent partially vaccinated.
Kakisa, Wekweètì, and Wrigley also have low vaccination uptake, with under 40 percent of their adult population fully vaccinated.