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University students offered chance to win cash jackpot for having two jabs

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University of Sussex is offering students the chance to win £5,000 if they have had both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

While the university is not mandating vaccinations, it is attempting to boost rates before the start of the academic year.

It hopes to teach in person as much as possible, to give students as close to a “normal university experience” as it can.

All students are being entered into the draw, with 10 winners able to claim a £5,000 prize each if they can prove they have had two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The government has decided against vaccine passports for university students, but is urging the institutions to promote the chance to get the jab.

Adam Tickell, the University’s Vice-Chancellor, said the scheme would be worth it even if numbers increased “only slightly”.

“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.

More on Covid-19

Anyone aged 16 or 17 in England can now get vaccinated against COVID-19 once the NHS has contacted them, while all 18-year-olds are eligible without needing to be contacted.

Uptake among young people got off to a slow start and is concerning officials.

The prize draw will be in late November and winners will simply have to provide evidence of both jabs, irrespective of where and when they received them.

Universities Minister Michelle Donelan said the Department for Education (DfE) was encouraging universities to explore “creative ways to boost uptake” as well as pop-up centres, making it “quick and easy for students to grab a jab”.