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After the early rush of elderly citizens for a coronavirus vaccine, many countries are now resorting to corruption to convince people to get bitten.
The persistent minority of vaccine skeptics – especially in Europe – are likely immune to the incentives offered. But governments are hopeful that a little push may be needed with people for whom the prospect of a long COVID or even death was not, in and of itself, enough to make them find a window in their homes. schedule for a vaccination appointment.
Some countries – notably France – are taking more of a stick approach, requiring certain key workers to be given the jab or restricting access to leisure activities for unvaccinated people. Pakistan is even taking the unconventional approach of cutting off the cell phone signal to those who refuse to receive the jab.
But vaccine carrots hanging in front of those who haven’t yet started the jab are more common – and more creative. Here is an overview.
Money and Prizes
United States. When a call to save your skin isn’t enough, a government pledge to fat your wallet just might do the trick. That’s the hope of US President Joe Biden, who asked states to offer a $ 100 incentive for people to take the jab (sorry folks, if you’ve ever had it, the money is not retrospective). Maryland also went the money route, everyone who received the vaccine entered its VaxCash raffle with a grand prize of $ 400,000.
Hong Kong has its own “raffle” – first prize, a free apartment. And this is just one of many initiatives launched by private companies after the Hong Kong government asked them to help encourage people to get vaccinated. Cathay Pacific’s prize is a private party on one of its all-new A321neo jets, while the HK Convention Center offers an “unlimited dinner buffet” for a year – that’s a lot of food.
Canada also uses the lottery incentive, with impressive prizes of up to $ 1 million, while Latvia and Poland also hope that the prospect of a cash gain will motivate their citizens.
Serbia was the first to distribute cash to reluctant citizens, offering € 25 to anyone over 16 in early May to get vaccinated.
And Sweden also opts for the simple cash incentive. But with vaccine hesitation less widespread than in some other countries, the money offered (100 Swedish kronor or a little less than 10 €) hardly changes life. Still, that may be enough to push a few people to receive the jab, says Erik Wengström of Lund University, the man behind the ploy. “People might be planning to get the vaccine, but maybe it is a bit complicated and something is still bothering them. So a little push can help, ”he said.
In the UK, ministers target bribes on young people, including free rides with Uber and Bolt, movie tickets and fast food deliveries from Deliveroo (employed by the Daily Mirror tabloid as “Kebabs for jabs”) . Is a threat an incentive? The government has also signaled that those who do not accept the jab will not be allowed into nightclubs in a few weeks.
Greece distributes € 150 vouchers to people aged 18 to 25 after receiving their first dose. They can use the coupons to travel, stay in hotels or campsites, attend concerts, go to the movies and pay for tickets for other cultural events.
In Germany, officials appeal to ears and stomachs. An offer of free sausages (of course) in the town of Sonnenberg in southern Thuringia lined up to get the shot. And Berlin is hiring a DJ at one of its vaccination centers to attract young people for nightly jab slots. “Berlin can vaccinate, Berlin can party – now we are doing both together,” State Minister of Health Dilek Kalayci said, according to local newspaper Berlin.de.
Also opting for the food route is the barbecue stall at Bucharest’s Obor market in Romania who distributed mini kebabs (a delicious local specialty called “mici” served with bread and mustard). For those who are still hesitant to get vaccinated, a bookstore in Oradea, in northwest Romania, distributes free coffee and books to vaccinated Romanians.
The correspondent of Welt au Moyen-Orient, Christine Kensche tweets this that of Israel different neighborhoods offer delicious incentives with a cultural touch: hummus in Arab neighborhoods, scholent for Orthodox Jews, pizza in Tel Aviv and ice cream for children.
Spainoffers to get stung? Nada. Ministers discussed it, but decided that with the proper rollout of the vaccine and anti-vaccines in the minority, they didn’t need to offer incentives.
Antonia Zimmermann, Emily Schultheis, Jillian Deutsch, Saim Saeed, Stuart Lau, Cristina Gallardo, Cornelius Hirsch, Annabelle Dickson, Vincent Manancourt, Matei Rosca and Lili Bayer contributed reporting.
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