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OSU staff member receiving COVID-19 vaccine outside the University Health Services. 

Prizes including $3,500 bursar scholarship, campus dining gift cards and more, OSU’s Poke-a-thon campaign aims to get students vaccinated at the beginning of the fall semester.

As students return to Stillwater, Oklahoma, for school in the fall semester, university officials are concerned about vaccinations due to rising infections and hospitalizations.

According to the Centers of Disease Control, Oklahoma has two out of 77 counties with a low rate of transmission. The delta variant, the latest variant of the coronavirus, is a more transmissible form of COVID-19.

The first round of the raffle ends on Aug. 12 and some students like Drew Underwood, a sophomore electrical engineering major, have positive opinions about the contest. 

“I think the contest is a great idea,” Underwood said. “It is a good way of stressing the importance of being vaccinated.”

 By awarding students who get vaccinated, Underwood, who will be entering into the raffle, said OSU has a good way to express its stance.

However, some students have negative opinions on Poke-a-thon like Nolan Cox, a sophomore entrepreneurship major.

“No, I don’t think it’s a good idea,” Cox said. “If anything, it reinforces people’s hesitancy towards the vaccine.”

Instead of encouraging students to get the vaccine, Cox said the incentives are not convincing enough to those who are unvaccinated. 

Other students see the campaign from a bigger picture. Jillian Eckert, a sophomore English major, said this raffle might be the shove people need.

“It’s a good idea,” Eckert said. “If this contest pushes more people to get the vaccine, we can hopefully work towards eliminating the virus.”

Eckert said incentives are fine to provide if it is for the sake of public health and safety, which is more important than the right or wrong of the issue. Eckert was considering entering the raffle. 

The Poke-a-thon can be found on the front page of the Oklahoma State University’s main website. The first round of raffle prizes were given out last Thursday and will continue every week for the next eight weeks.