By Amy Kawata

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced VaxU on Wednesday, a new initiative to get more youth vaccinated against COVID-19 in partnership with the Maryland Dept. of Health and the Higher Education Commission.

Any vaccinated Marylander between the ages of 12 and 17 will be eligible for a $50,000 college scholarship, Governor Hogan announced Wednesday. The system will use the same random generator system used for the state’s VaxCash promotion.

READ MORE: 64 Cases Of Delta COVID-19 Variant Detected In Maryland, Health Official Says

The $50,000 scholarship covers the equivalent of both tuition and fees at public and state institutions of higher learning, Hogan said.

The promotion starts Monday, July 12, and there will be a total of 20 drawings. Two winners will be picked every week for 8 weeks until Labor Day, which is when four winners will be picked.

A total of $1 million in scholarship money will be rewarded. The funding comes from the American Rescue Plan and it will be rewarded in the form of either a prepaid college trust of a Maryland 529.

The prepaid college trust will go to winners aged 12-14, and the Maryland529 will be awarded to winners between 15 and 17.

If the winner decides they want to attend a private institution or an out-of-state school, they will be able to transfer the scholarship to a school of their choice.

“This is an outstanding and innovative approach to incentivize our youth to learn more about the countless higher education opportunities that are available to them here in Maryland,” said MHEC Secretary Dr. James D. Fielder. “We are proud to continue paving the way for access and success of their higher education goals.”

READ MORE: Unvaccinated Marylanders Accounted For 100% Of All COVID-19 Deaths In June, Gov. Hogan Says

“All you have to do is go out and get your shot in order to have a shot at winning a scholarship to the college of your choice,” said Hogan. “Promotions like this are just one more way that we are reinforcing the importance of getting every single Marylander that we can vaccinated against COVID-19, especially our young people. And it is clearer than ever before, these vaccines are extremely effective.”

Hogan also warned that new, highly transmissible variants make it even more dangerous for unvaccinated residents.

“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. “According to our state and health department 95% of all new COVID cases reported last month, where people who have not been vaccinated 93% of all new COVID hospitalizations, were unvaccinated Marylanders.”

Hogan said 92.1 percent of all Marylanders over 65 are at least partially vaccinated. Last weekend, Maryland reported 75% of all adults in the state are partially vaccinated.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.