Young people to be offered free taxis, pizzas and supermarket discounts as vaccine incentives
Free pizza, cinema tickets and other vouchers are set to be included as vaccine incentives
As per The Telegraph, the government's next step in encouraging young people to get the vaccine is to implement an incentivisation programme, which is believed to include everything from free pizzas and taxi rides, to cinema tickets, cups of coffee, supermarket discounts and more.
The number of young adults who have had the jab is still surprisingly low, with just 67% of those under 29 years old having had their first dose of the vaccine. The fear is that many young people assume they are fit, healthy and able to fight off the virus more easily and, as such, the government is now urgently looking for ways to get them jabbed.
Cabinet ministers privately told The Telegraph that if this proportion can be increased to more than 80%, it could head off the need for vaccine passports for venues such as nightclubs.
As a result, government ministers are said to now be in talks with dozens of companies, including coffee and cinema chains, about a voucher scheme that is set to be launched later this month, just in time for the new academic year.
Coronavirus cases saw a resurgence when students last returned to classes, as the sheer influx of so many people from different parts of the globe makes it virtually inevitable. Covid is on the rise across the board at the moment but the infection rate stands at 1,154.7 per 100,000 among 20 to 29-year-olds - the highest of any age group.
So far, Uber has agreed to offer free rides, while Deliveroo is offering discounts on takeaway meals from 46,000 restaurants and discounts on shopping bills from the likes of Waitrose, Morrisons and Aldi.
Pizza Pilgrims, a restaurant chain with 10 outlets in central London, is also offering discounts on meals, while Bolt - another ride-hailing app - will offer "free ride credits" to those visiting vaccination centres.
The government hopes to promote the new scheme at a "major flagship event" for young people in the next few weeks, when they will be offered a credit voucher. While it will be targeted at younger adults, specifically, the scheme will be open to all ages - a decision that could cause a backlash among others who have already had their jabs and were not rewarded for it.
One Whitehall source said: "This is just the start of it, we are expecting a number of other companies to get involved. We are looking to move quickly on this."
Getting into what specifics we know: typically people will be offered discounts of around £10, either in voucher form or in a discount code sent to their mobile phones - so long as they can prove they have had their first vaccine.
The details of how the scheme will work are still being finalised but people could be able to prove they have been jabbed by submitting a “selfie” photograph of them at a vaccine centre. We are truly living in modern times.
Insiders on the scheme stressed that the “vouchers for jabs” plan was funded by the companies themselves and there were no plans to involve public money at any point.
A Deliveroo spokesman said: "This is the next step in helping get people vaccinated and safely back to normal", while Thom Elliot, the founder of Pizza Pilgrims, added: “By making getting your jab as easy as grabbing a pizza, hopefully, we can help our teams and our customers get both their first and second doses as easily and quickly as possible."
According to the daily Covid-19 summary, almost 90% of the UK's adult population (more than 46 million people) have had their first Covid vaccine and 72% of adults have had both doses. However, while cases are thought to be dropping, there is said to be an alarming number of young people being admitted to the ICU with coronavirus as the country continues to open up.
The Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, has thanked businesses for "stepping up" to support the vaccine drive and has urged people to "take advantage of the discounts".
"The lifesaving vaccines not only protect you, your loved ones and your community, but they are helping to bring us back together by allowing you to get back to doing the things you've missed."
As for the vaccines minister, Nadhim Zahawi, he believes there is a "strong enthusiasm" among young people to be vaccinated and that vaccine incentives will only help further the cause:"Please get your jabs as soon as you can and grab a bargain."
The proposed vaccine incentive programme comes after US President, Joe Biden, announced plans last week to pay Americans $100 (£72) each to be vaccinated against coronavirus, saying: "Please, please get vaccinated. We just need to finish the job."
The US isn't the only place incentivising getting the jab: everywhere from Russia, Malaysia, Cambodia and the Philippines are thinking of ways to get more people vaccinated.