Brandon University awards more than $10,000 in vaccine incentives to students, faculty, and staff

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“I can’t believe it. It doesn’t seem real!” Erin Murray was visibly excited and beaming through her mask as she picked up a cheque to cover $5,000 in tuition yesterday.

Murray was the grand-prize winner in Brandon University’s Winning Shot incentive, which offered more than $10,000 in prizes to encourage students, faculty, and staff to get vaccinated.

“It felt surreal, I thought ‘What if it’s a trick?’ but it’s not, it’s real!” exclaimed the third-year nursing student from Carberry.

“This was the best part of my day,” said BU President David Docherty, who spent a few minutes chatting with Murray before presenting her with the grand prize.

Murray is currently working a clinical placement in Neepawa and says she wants to continue nursing in a rural setting when she graduates.

“I love it, I love rural nursing. They love their people so much. They’re so kind and team-oriented,” she said, although nursing through a pandemic has posed challenges. “When patients can have fewer, or even no visitors, it’s heartbreaking. The nurses are the visitors. And I hate it that patients can’t see my face.”

She says that vaccination offers a welcome ray of hope.

“It’s a privilege to get vaccinated, it makes such a difference,” she said.

“We’re thrilled by the enthusiasm and eagerness shown by students like Erin, and all our community, who by and large raced to get their shots,” Docherty said, adding that, for himself being able to go out and dine knowing that everyone in the restaurant is fully vaccinated feels like a relief. “We know that the vaccines are safe, effective, and offer considerable protection against even emerging variants. If you’re vaccinated, you know: every shot is a Winning Shot.”

The BU Winning Shot incentive ran through the summer and fall, and was designed to boost vaccine uptake in general, and full vaccination in particular. Students who got vaccinated and entered their names were eligible for prizes worth approximately $50 or $400 as well as the $5,000 grand prize. Employees were eligible for prizes worth approximately $50, $100, or $400.

“From a bookstore or Harvest Hall gift card to an HLC membership or a parking pass, all the way up to covering your tuition, every prize is also a showcase of the wide variety of services and facilities here at BU,” Docherty noted. “This helped keep the direct costs to the university somewhat lower, so we could offer more value to the winners from the same budget. And to encourage more vaccination overall, it’s money very well spent!”

All prize winners have been contacted. A full list of prize winners is available at



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