Maryland to award $1 million in college scholarships to vaccinated teens

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Maryland will award a total of $1 million in college scholarships to 20 residents aged 12-17 who get vaccinated, Gov. Larry Hogan announced on Wednesday. Image via YouTube.

In Maryland’s latest push to get more young people vaccinated, the state will award a total of $1 million in college scholarships to 20 Marylanders aged 12-17 who get vaccinated, Gov. Larry Hogan announced on Wednesday at the University of Maryland, College Park.

The new “VaxU” lottery initiative will kick off July 12, using the same random number generator that the state used in its $2 million Vax Cash lottery that concluded July 4.

The state will randomly assign numbers to every Marylander aged 12-17 who has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

They will choose 20 winners from July 12 through Sept. 6, Labor Day, and award each winner a $50,000 scholarship or the equivalent of full tuition and fees at a public, in-state institution.

“If any of our 12- to 17-year-olds or their parents needed another good reason, then now they can go out and get vaccinated for a chance to win a $50,000 college scholarship,” Hogan said.

Young people are automatically entered into the drawing when they get vaccinated.

“Once again, all you have to do is get your shot to have a shot at winning a scholarship to the college of your choice,” Hogan said.

Winners will receive a Maryland 529 Prepaid College Trust contract, locking in current tuition rates, or a Maryland 529 College Investment Plan.

If a winner decides to attend a private school or a school outside of Maryland, they will be able to transfer the scholarship to the school of their choice.

The Maryland Department of Health and the Maryland Higher Education Commission will work together to notify winners.

Maryland is paying for the scholarship initiative with federal funding from the American Rescue Plan.

As of Wednesday morning, 75.2% of Marylanders age 18 or older have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and 3,431,069 Marylanders are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The state health department reported that 100% of the Marylanders who were confirmed to have died from COVID-19 in June were unvaccinated. Meanwhile, 95% of new COVID-19 cases in June were unvaccinated individuals, and 93% of new coronavirus hospitalizations were unvaccinated individuals.

Among Marylanders age 65 or older, 88.36% are at least partially vaccinated. Meanwhile, 77.33% of 50- to 64-year-olds have been vaccinated with at least one dose; 63.69% of 18- to 49-year-olds; and 50.77% of 12- to 17-year-olds, according to state data from Tuesday.

After the number of people flocking to Maryland’s mass vaccination sites dwindled, the state opted to close those sites and instead shift to smaller vaccine clinics in targeted communities.

Hogan urged any residents who have not yet received a shot, and are able to do so, to get vaccinated.

“These vaccines are extremely effective, but those who are unvaccinated do remain at risk, especially with the new highly transmissible variants, including the Delta variant which is currently circulating,” Hogan said.

Marcus Dieterle

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