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Mayor of Lancaster, California offers raffle for scholarships $10k for teen to get COVID-19 vaccine

A California mayor is raffling off prizes including scholarships worth up to $10,000 for teenagers who decide to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The mayor of Lancaster, Mayor R. Rex Parris, is specifically targeting those aged between 16 and 18  after reports of 'vaccine hesitancy' among the age group.

Data for Los Angeles County show just 15.8% of 16 to 29-year-olds have received at least one dose of the vaccine.   

Mayor of Lancaster, California, R. Rex Parris, is pushing for teens aged 16-18 to get the vaccine

The city is offering a raffle in which the prizes are scholarships of $10,000 and $5,000 plus $50 gift cards to those who get the jab

Overall, the county has fully inoculated more than 2.9 million people 16 and older, accounting for 35.8% of the population, according to county data. 

The June 30th deadline will see one grand prize winner in the #10kVaxChallenge receive a $10,000 scholarship.

A second prize winner will receive a $5,000 scholarship with a further 20 winners eligible for a $50 gift card.     

The money will come from the mayor's scholarship fund. 

To participate in the raffle, teens need to post a photo of themselves on social media stating that they have received the second jab using hashtags '#10kVaxChallenge' and '#VaccinateLancaster.' 

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is reporting a sharp decline in vaccinations particularly among younger people

'Our community's youth feel that much more excited and motivated to be part of ending the COVID-19 pandemic,' Mayor R. Rex Parris explained to ABC News as to why he created the raffle.

'Members of the Lancaster community are all looking forward to putting this pandemic behind us, with teenagers maybe even the most excited about getting back to their 'normal lives.' 

'But to get back to 'normal' as a community, it is up to each of us to do our part and get vaccinated. Now that safe and effective vaccines are available for our 16 to 18-year-olds, I want to help make sure Lancaster teens take advantage of the opportunity. 

'Tto get back to 'normal' as a community, it is up to each of us to do our part and get vaccinated. Now that safe and effective vaccines are available for our 16 to 18-year-olds, I want to help make sure Lancaster teens take advantage of the opportunity,' Mayor R. Rex Parris said

'There are $16,000 in scholarship funds on the line, and I fully expect Lancaster teens to participate, tag their friends and become one of the winners to receive funding toward their future education,' Parris said.

So far, the incentive appears to be working with an increase in the number of teens making vaccine appointments and taking part in the raffle since it launched.

Parris also noted that it is conservative Republicans who are most hesitant when it comes to getting the jab. 

'It is the conservative Republicans who are the most vaccine-resistant. There's a thousands reasons, I guess,' he said to KABC. 

Other states are also coming up with schemes to encourage younger members of society to get inoculated.

West Virginia is offering young people $100 to receive the COVID-19.

The state is hoping the savings bond will entice people aged between 16 and 35, who are responsible for more than a quarter of cases despite making up just 21 per cent of the population, to get their shot.

The demographic has been eligible to get the vaccine since March but has been comparatively slow in getting inoculated with just 31 per cent of 16 to 35-year-olds receiving the shot. So far, half of West Virginia's 1.8 million residents have received at least one shot. 

The vaccination rate among young people in the state of West Virginia has slowed, data from its Department of Health and Human Resources shows

In a press briefing last week, Gov. Jim Justice said he is aiming to get more than 70 percent of the state's eligible population vaccinated, which he could exceed if about 80 percent of the state's 380,000 16 to 35-year-olds get vaccinated. 

'If we really want to move the needle, we've got to get our young people vaccinated,' he said, noting they are 'not taking vaccines as fast as we'd like them to take them.' 

'Our kids today probably don't really realize just how important they are in shutting this thing down,' Justice said. 'I'm trying to come up with a way that's going to motivate them - and us - to get over the hump.' 

Those who have already received their COVID vaccines will also get a $100 savings bond retroactively. 

Moderna said early data from its clinical trial showed its coronavirus vaccine was 96% effective among children ages 12 to 17. Pictured: Katelyn Evans receives an injection of vaccine or placebo during clinical trial at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, October 2020

Some parents are reluctant to vaccinate their kids against COVID-19, with a new poll finding 29% plan to vaccinate their children 'right away' when shots become available while 32% want to wait and see

The suppliers of the vaccines say their injections are highly effective among teens,  early clinical trial data shows.

In the TeenCOVE study, including children ages 12 to 17, the two-dose Moderna shot was 96 percent effective.

The results are in line with the 94 percent efficacy Moderna showed among adults in its December 2020 trial. 

However, despite the promising findings, some parents are reluctant to get their children vaccinated.

A new poll recently found that fewer than one-third of parents intend to get their sons and daughters immunized as soon as a shot is authorized and more than a quarter have no plans to do so.

Moderna added that its study looking at COVID-19 vaccines among children ages six months to 11 years, known as KidCOVE, is ongoing. 

Along with the promising results, the FDA is expected to authorize Pfizer-BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds by next week,

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden announced that if the FDA does in fact approve the vaccine for adolescents next week, the U.S. is ready to start administering 'immediately.' 

But many parents are not as enthusiastic about vaccinating their children. 

About 15% of parents surveyed said they will only vaccinate their child against COVID-19 if schools require it while 19% said they don't plant

In a new poll, conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, parents were asked if they would get their child immunized once a COVID-19 vaccine is authorized and available for their child's age group.

Only about three in 10 parents - 29 percent - of children under 18 said they would get their child vaccinated 'right away.'

Willingness to get their children vaccinated immediately grew as the child age increased with just 24 percent with a kid under age five saying they would get their child vaccinated as soon as possible compared with 31 percent who had children ages 16 to 17.  

Meanwhile, one-third, 32 percent, of mothers and father surveyed said they wanted to wait and see how the vaccine worked before getting their child immunized.

Black and white parents were more likely than Hispanic parents to say they definitely will not vaccinate their children, the poll found 

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