A city-sponsored contest is encouraging people to get vaccinated but is in no way forcing them to do so, noted one city councillor.
Keith Page said the idea of the Vax and Relax lottery (nelson.ca/888/Get-Vaccinated-Nelson) was to offer prizes as the way to help the district reach its immunization goals and raise the vaccination rate.
The lottery is not about pressuring people who are not vaccinated to take the poke, he said, but low vaccination rates were a concern when the contest was being put together back in July.
In light of the recent anti-vaccine and vaccine passport protests, Page said any backlash to the intent of the contest was an opportunity to inform, educate and invite people into participating in the process.
“Over the last few weeks, I’ve engaged firsthand with many passionate individuals expressing the values of freedom. But at the same time, the conversations rarely come full circle to the individual responsibilities that pay for that freedom,” he said.
“Being free is not just the privilege to dine out at a restaurant of your choosing or the right to the health and security of your own body. It’s also the responsibility to work hard and contribute as best as you're able to the well-being of the community.
“It’s the responsibility to respect where your freedoms end and a stranger's freedoms begin and to hold the sacredness of the public space between for all generations.”
In that sense, people have a responsibility to do whatever they can to support the community in reaching greater vaccination rates, Page added.
“Those who would backlash against that also have a responsibility to engage with the system and work to improve it just as much as they have the freedom to decry it,” he explained.
“It’s not enough to sit on the sidelines, skip all the meetings, not take advantage of the public time then decry the outcome of the process. The government is not something that just happens, the government is us, we all share the outcome.”
A return to recreation
As chair of Recreation Commission 5, Page said the commission threw its hat into the ring and offered to donate facility passes to the prize list to help sweeten the pot.
Indoor health and wellness opportunities have been severely limited since the rise of the pandemic, Page explained, and, understandably, the Nelson and District Community Complex (NDCC) has both been “greatly impacted by the restrictions and sorely missed by the community.”
The rec commission recommended to the RDCK board of directors that the NDCC provide a donation of facility passes, not to exceed $5,000, that would be awarded to local area residents who get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“At Recreation Commission the discussion was very much supportive of providing a generous incentive to help the district reach its immunization goals and, by extension, create the space for the facility to return to normal operations,” he said.
“Offering up a limited set of facility passes to individuals and families is meant in small part to encourage more people to get vaccinated and welcome them back to the pool, gym and arena.”
Vax and Relax contest
The contest is for the Nelson local health area.
All residents in the health area who have had at least one dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine can enter to win one of the prizes.
People are limited to one entry and will have to provide proof they have received an approved COVID-19 vaccine dose to win. There will be 12 chances to win, with one draw per week until Oct. 28.
To enter, people must complete the questions in this survey.
Local prizes include: Whitewater season ski pass; Kokanee Mountain Zipline passes; Cody Cave passes; local e-gift certificates for local stores and restaurants; Hume Hotel Aura Spa treatment; play and stay — Balfour and Granite Golf Courses; staycation packages — Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort and the Prestige Lakeside Resort.
Registration closes Oct. 27.
Source: City of Nelson(http://nelson.ca/888/Get-Vaccinated-Nelson)