Students who are double-vaccinated against Covid-19 are being offered the chance to win one of five £5,000 jackpots at an English university.
The University of Sussex scheme is the latest incentive on offer to drive up vaccination rates among young people.
All students are being entered into the draw, with five winners able to claim a £5,000 prize each, if they can prove they are double-jabbed or exempt.
Ministers are urging universities to be creative in efforts to boost take-up.
Professor Adam Tickell, the vice-chancellor at Sussex, said the prize raffle was worth it if the numbers being vaccinated could be boosted even slightly.
“We know take-up among young people is patchy,” he said. “We know they’re not against the vaccine, they’re just not getting round to it.”
He added the financial cost to the university of the scheme was small compared to the human and social cost of potential disruption to students.
“We know transmission rates are lower with vaccination, and the risk of serious illness for our staff and students is much lower in people who’ve been vaccinated.”
Vaccination remains voluntary for students, and there has been growing concern about the relatively low take-up by young adults.
Malvina Sakurai Yau, 19, who is going into her third year of an International Relations degree at Sussex, had her first jab in June, and is waiting for her second.
She said that although Covid-19 is generally a mild disease for younger people, vaccination is the best option because “you don’t know what would happen if you caught it.”
She added: “Coronavirus is such a big thing at the moment, and it’s important we protect our community and the people around us.
“We are all fellow-students. Our lectures are with quite a lot of other people and we don’t know about the health background of these other people, or if they’re in contact with people at risk.
“A lot of us are just yearning to be back on campus and for the chance to do things in person – this is going to help.”
The university says its scheme is designed to provide an incentive for students to have both doses.
The prize draw will be in late November, to allow students who have their first dose on arrival at university a chance to win.
Some students with their 18th birthday in late August or September, may not have been able to have both doses before starting their first year at university.
Winners will be selected randomly and can claim their prize by presenting proof of both doses of a coronavirus vaccine or medical exemption.https://emp.bbc.co.uk/emp/SMPj/2.43.6/iframe.htmlmedia captionCovid vaccine: How are young people responding to the jab?
Professor Tickell got the idea after hearing on a BBC programme that universities in the US were offering incentives for vaccination.
The government has said proof of vaccination will be required for nightclubs from September.
Universities minister Michelle Donelan said: “Vaccines are the surest way to put Covid behind us and for students to reclaim the freedoms that enrich university life.
“The department is encouraging universities to look at creative ways to boost uptake, and to discuss the possibility of pop-up centres with local health partners – making it quick and easy for students to grab a jab.”