50 New York teens will win full college scholarship for getting a COVID-19 shot, Cuomo says

50 New York teens will win full college scholarship for getting a COVID-19 shot, Cuomo says
New York State Governor Andrew CuomoKevin P. Coughlin / Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
  • New York has offered teenagers a chance to win a full state college scholarship if they get a COVID-19 shot.
  • The scholarship adds to a growing list of incentives for New Yorkers to get vaccinated.
  • New York's vaccination rate is slowing, and young people are the least vaccinated group.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that 50 teenagers living in the state could win a full scholarship to any state college or university if they get a first shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from Thursday.

The "Get a Shot to Make Your Future" prize draw would allow parents of vaccinated 12 to 17-year-olds to add their child's names to a raffle. State officials would randomly pick ten names every week for five weeks, Cuomo said at a press conference Wednesday.

The scholarship adds to the list of incentives state officials are using to boost vaccine uptake. Last week, Cuomo unveiled a new "Vax and Scratch" program, which would give people $20 scratch-off lottery tickets for a $5 million cash prize. He announced a two-day free pass to any state park for vaccinated New Yorkers on Monday.

Winners of the prize draw would receive up to five years' worth of funds to cover tuition, books, and room and board for those enrolling in an undergraduate or approved bachelor's degree program, Cuomo said.

Cuomo said it was open to all vaccinated 12 to 17-year-olds.


New York state also offers the Excelsior Scholarship, which covers tuition costs for students whose parents make $125,000 or less per year.

Cuomo said the state needed to "get creative" to encourage more New Yorkers to get their shot, amid slowing demand.

"Vaccination rates across the state are beginning to slow and our greatest need is with young New Yorkers who make up a large percent of positive cases and have the lowest vaccination percentage in the state," Cuomo said at the press conference.

As of Wednesday, 46% of New York residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and 55% have received at least one dose, according to a New York Times database.