Fully vaccinated Australians are being rewarded but the benefits pale in comparison to what’s up for grabs overseas.
Fully vaccinated Australians are being rewarded but the benefits pale in comparison to what’s up for grabs overseas.

$1 million, joints and beer: Wooing the world to get the jab

From free joints and beer to the chance to win a million dollars - the carrots being dangled at people overseas to get vaccinated are epic and interesting.

While Australian businesses have been given the go-ahead to offer rewards to people who have been fully vaccinated - like frequent flyer points or discounts - the prizes pale in comparison to what's on offer in the US.

The incentives have sparked a warning from one public health expert they could backfire and have the opposite effect.

In the US, legal cannabis shops are offering free joints as an incentive to get the Covid jab - the promotion in Washington state is dubbed "joints for jabs" and is promising a "single pre-rolled joint" for everyone aged over 21 who gets a shot at a vaccine clinic.

 

Ohio took the lottery path, with a $1 million jackpot designed to combat vaccine hesitancy, with consolation prizes of fully funded scholarships to a top university.

If Joe Biden's vaccination program is a success, the largest beer company in the States, Anheuser-Busch, is offering to buy the country a round of beers to celebrate the "pivotal moment" of reaching Mr Biden's goal of having 70 per cent of adults vaccinated by the Fourth of July celebrations.

Israel has had mixed success with its "green pass" which meant passholders could access clubs, gyms, restaurants and attend weddings. But the country, which has a high level of vaccination, dropped it after people failed to follow rules such as mask use.

In Hong Kong, a $1.8m one-bedroom apartment has been offered in a special lottery, along with 20 cash prizes of almost $20,000. Registrations for the lottery open next to vaccinated residents and the winners announced in September.

Public servants and private sector workers are also being tempted with paid for days off work.

Serbian citizens have been promised cash payments too, of around five per cent of the average monthly salary, in what President Aleksandar Vucic said was a reward for those that "showed responsibility".

 

 

In the Philippines, some towns are offering raffles of plots of land - perhaps the only chance some would get to ever owning land. Malls were offering the less lucrative offer of free parking and banana fritters to shoppers.

Other countries are also going down the food route to help convince anyone wavering over whether to get a vaccine. Chinese authorities have offered free items like eggs, rice and toilet paper.

Dr Emily Largent, a professor of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania, said it made sense to "be creative" and offer incentives if there was concern about vaccine uptake.

"That said, we need to be clear-eyed about what they can and can't accomplish."

She said incentives would probably only work for people who weren't opposed to the jab, and just haven't made it a priority to get one.

 

"Offering an incentive might lend a sense of urgency; get vaccinated now and miss out on $100 or a chance to win $1,000,000 or more."

But it wouldn't necessarily overcome vaccine hesitancy, where people are misinformed or need more information, she said.

"Incentives don't get at reasons like these, so they must be used in conjunction with other public health strategies."

Dr Largent said there was a danger incentives could backfire if they distracted from the overall public health message.

"We need to be aware incentives may cause some people to perceive vaccination as riskier or more burdensome than it is - the idea being that it's too good to be true or there must be something wrong if they have to pay you to do it."

Dr Largent said it could also set a bad precedent by causing people to get paid for vaccines in the future.

"That's a concern in light of discussions around about Covid-19 boosters."

andrew.koubaridis@news.com.au

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEST VACCINE INCENTIVES

 

+ A raffle in Hong Kong where a $1.8m apartment can be won

 

+ $1 million lottery in Ohio

 

+ A "green pass" that enables holders in Israel access to venues they otherwise wouldn't be allowed into

 

+ Free cannabis joints for people who have had both jabs

 

+ Land raffles

 

+ Free food, like banana fritters, for Philippines residents

 

 

Originally published as $1 million, joints and beer: Wooing the world to get the jab



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