Cash, coffee & doughnuts: Can incentives get more people vaccinated? We looked at the around the world plans to get people back to work by sweetening the deal.
In a matter of weeks, some parts of the globe have gone from trying to get enough vaccines to now having them, and trying to convince people to take them. As more and more countries consider offering perks to the immunised, we thought we’d take a look at what you can currently be eligible for if you have received both your shots.
The state of New York has upped the incentive to get a coronavirus vaccine by offering a chance to win up to $5M dollars. New Yorkers who get vaccinated at one of 10 state-run sites will get a free New York Lottery scratch-off ticket with the hefty grand prize of $5million.
The incentive lottery plan, named “Vax & Scratch” is the first to run in New York City and offers up to 13 prizes tiers, ranging from $20 up to $5M.
Individuals must be 18 years or older and have their first dose of the Pfizer jab or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot in order to get a scratch-off ticket, which is sold for $20 at retailers statewide. The offer runs until the end of May.
Vaccinated New Yorkers will also be eligible for free tickets to attractions such as the NYC Aquarium, Brooklyn Botanical Garden, Bronx Zoo, the Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Cyclones, NYC Ferry and the Public Theater among other popular attractions, as well as free weekly Metrocards to use on the city’s famed subway system.
New York ranks one of the highest vaccinated states compared to others in the US for the percentage of its population fully vaccinated with a Covid-19 vaccine. To date, more than 46%, were fully vaccinated against the virus – placing New York 10th highest in overall vaccinations.
Over in the US capital, the White House is partnering with dating apps to get more single (and ready to mingle) people out and about. Apps like OK Cupid, Tinder and Hinge are all offering premium content for free to any app users that can prove they are vaccinated against COVID-19.
Users will also be able to show their vaccination status on their profiles and be able to filter potential hookups based on whether they’re had the shots. The move comes as vaccination rates across the U.S. are slowing down, with Republican states slowing the least amount of growth.
The White House also announced a nationwide partnership with ride-sharing apps Uber and Lyft to offer free rides to and from vaccination sites starting from 24th May until 4th July. Officials further announced plans to work with national grocery chains, retailers, and sports leagues to offer discounts and promotions to anyone who is fully vaccinated.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced on 20th May that the state will offer $2 million in lottery cash prizes to encourage residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
State residents over the age of 18 who sign up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine will be automatically entered into the lottery.
The cash prizes will be dispersed in daily $40,000 drawings between 25th May until 3rd July, ending with a $400,000 jackpot, which will be drawn on the following Independence day.
Among the other states who have announced future state vaccine lotteries include Kentucky, Oregon and Colorado.
Pennsylvania & Massachusetts
For those living in the Commonwealths of Pennsylvania or Massachusetts, you now have the ability to pick up a free iced coffee with your vaccine. Massachusetts is offering free beverages at its Dunkin’ cafes, with prizes for a year of free coffee on offer.
Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, local commissioners have teamed up with iced drinks brand Rita’s to provide $30,000 dollars worth of free coupons to anyone who gets the vaccine at their local sites. The plan hopes to incentivise young adults into getting the vaccine.
Ohio residents are also getting shots in arms in hopes of becoming millionaires. Their governor, Republican Mike DeWine announced a 5-week lottery draw to incentivise the more than 40% of Ohio residents who have not yet had a single shot.
The scheme, announced on Wednesday, will ensure that every week for the next 5 consecutive weeks, a winner will be drawn and awarded a prize of $1 million dollars, provided they have received a vaccine.
Although gambling is not permitted to anyone under the age of 18, teens aged 12 to 17-year-olds can still participate in the program. The state also plans to randomly draw one vaccinated child, who will then receive a full, four-year college scholarship at the state university, which includes fees for room & board plus the necessary textbooks.
The US vaccine decline
American health experts believe the drop-off in demand for vaccines is partly due to a lack of turnout from low-income families. Due to the ongoing issue of underpaid hourly work, lack of medical benefits, plus the nature of employer-based health care systems, some Americans have so far been unable to step away from work for long enough to attend vaccine appointments and recover from any possible side effects.
Some citizens also face language barriers, do not have access to the online systems required to sign up for appointments, or harbour a long term lack of trust in government-funded schemes.
To address some of these barriers and overall doubts, the Biden administration has allocated $6 billion for tools to help educate those in impoverished communities, as well as ensuring health centres in low-income communities are fully stocked and staffed to administer the vaccine.
Right now about 40% of the population is fully vaccinated, with 52% having at least one shot. President Biden said in a recent press briefing that he wants to see 70% of the US population fully vaccinated by Independence day, or 4th July.
The American pharmaceutical company behind the Pfizer vaccine and German company BioNTech have also pledged to deliver 2 billion doses of their vaccine to middle and low-income countries over the next 18 months. This news comes amid international appeals for solidarity among nations unable to procure enough vaccines for their citizens.
The country of Serbia has promised to pay its citizens the equivalent of £22 if they get vaccinated against COVID-19. The president said the initiative would reward the countries citizens for behaving responsibly and protecting themselves against the vaccine.
Citizens over the age of 16 who have either already received one or two doses, or will be vaccinated with at least one dose by the end of May will receive a one-time payment of 3,000 dinars. The amount equates to around 5% of the country’s average monthly salary.
“We have considered how to reward people who have shown responsibility and decided to grant additional financial support to those who have been vaccinated,” the president told reporters in early May.
President Vucic added that it was “selfish” not to be vaccinated, although he ruled out imposing any penalties on those reluctant to receive the vaccine.
So far, roughly 22% of Serbia’s seven million inhabitants have been given two jabs.
The island nation of Australia is currently dealing with growing levels of vaccine hesitancy. The country did well in subduing the early onset of the virus by enforcing strict lockdown measures and ensuring extended quarantines to anyone entering, but although the government was praised for stopping the spread around the regions, officials are acutely aware that life cannot continue without herd immunity.
For this reason, Australia is currently studying the American Incentive model for key details on how to improve vaccinations rates. The government is currently considering a hybrid model of various motivational tactics to both inspire its citizens and cater to various age groups. They hope to unveil a plan in the coming weeks.
Companies that are also throwing their vaccine incentives into the ring
Many companies are also starting to throw their weight behind vaccinating both customers and employees. Here are some companies we found offering incentives around the globe.
If you are in the need of a new pair of glasses, the eyewear brand “Hip Optical” is offering 15% off any eyewear purchase, provided you can provide proof that you have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
The Florida based company hopes to incentivise more of its residents to get vaccinated and look stylish while doing it.
The Indian based food delivery app Zomato recently launched a vaccine drive for all of its delivery partners across the Delhi and NCR region. The initiative was launched last week, with founder and CEO Deepinder Goyal announcing on social media platform Twitter that they were establishing a free and safe vaccination site for the company’s 150,000 frontline staff. Mr Goyal added that he also plans to launch similar sites in Mumbai and Bengaluru over the weekend, with more sites to be announced shortly.
India has been struggling to cope with its recent wave of coronavirus outbreak, with last weeks cases ranging within 320,000 across the nation daily.
In January supermarket chain Aldi announced it would give its employees 4 hours PTO to get the vaccine, without impacting employees normal working hours, time-off or wages.
Supermarket chain Lidl also announced in January that it would give a $200 bonus to its US employees who choose to get the vaccine. Lidl has more than 125 stores across the east coast.
In March, the company worked with CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield to provide free, comprehensive Covid-19 medical coverage to its employees.