How a Birmingham COVID vaccine sweepstakes plan might work

Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 4:52 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Details are still being worked out for a $13 million sweepstakes plan to increase COVID vaccinations in Birmingham.

City Council President William Parker wants to present the plan next week to the city council.

Parker said they will probably work through the weekend hammering out the details of the plan. While city hall attorneys are reviewing the plan, Parker said they will press ahead because time is running out to meet President Biden’s goal of getting 70% of the country at least one shot by July 4.

Several states in the country have started lotteries to encourage more people to get vaccinated.

“We are in a race against time. The president has given us a challenge and we plan to meet that challenge by July 4,” Parker said.

Parker’s Birmingham Magic City Million COVID-19 Sweepstakes wants to use a variety of incentives.

One to identify all those who have gotten a vaccine shot already and give them a $500 gift card or savings bond. Parker says people can call a designated number or email. Medical professionals will verify they had the shots.

Students between 12-17 will be eligible for a drawing to win a college scholarship if they have been vaccinated.

There will be two or three drawings for up to a million dollars. There will be daily drawing up to $10,000.

What has to be worked out is if the city will do it or if there will be a third party or non-profit which will take part.

“We have teams of lawyers to work through the details. Lets come together. This is about Birmingham. Failure is not an option,” Parker said.

But one city councilman questions spending up to $13 million when the city has other needs.

“My hope is we can, with this funding, we can fix problems the city of Birmingham has had and we can not simply afford to fix,” Hunter Williams said.

Williams said one of those funding needs: new garbage trucks to meet a growing demand for garbage service in Birmingham. $10 million would help buy new trucks.

Parker said he hopes to see work through the weekend and compromise for a plan for the council to vote on next week.

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