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We’re way beyond free doughnuts now. Athletic teams, governors, and national retailers are getting creative to entice unvaccinated people to get their COVID-19 immunizations.
Two free tickets to a future Atlanta Braves baseball game along with free COVID-19 vaccinations were part of the lineup at Truist Park, in Atlanta, Georgia, this past weekend. The Braves, in collaboration with Emory Healthcare, offered the program to all fans aged 16 and older.
The Milwaukee Bucks basketball team partnered with the city’s health department to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to all eligible fans at Fiserv Forum, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. First doses of the Pfizer vaccine were available through a mobile vaccination site at a game on April 25.
The State of COVID-19 Vaccine Incentives
In New Jersey, the governor’s office, the state’s Department of Health, and the Brewer’s Guild of New Jersey crafted the “Shot and a Beer” program.
Any New Jersey resident aged 21 and older who receives their first COVID-19 vaccine dose in May can present their vaccine card at a participating brewery for a free beer.
As of May 6, 35 local breweries throughout the Garden State had decided to pour over the idea. It’s a creative idea for breweries with creative names, including 13th Child Brewery, Angry Erik Brewing, Man Skirt Brewing, and the somewhat medical sounding, Dr. Brewlittle’s Beer Company.
West Virginia made national headlines in April when Gov. Jim Justice announced that the state would give $100 savings bonds to residents aged 16 to 35 who get immunized.
A week later, the governor said he intends to offer other vaccination incentives but that they may be in the form of a silver dollar and a $100 gift card instead of a savings bond. The governor explained that he’s facing some challenges with rolling out the bonds and that he is working with the US Treasury Department to resolve the issue.
Retailers Rewarding Customers Too
It’s not just governments and ball clubs. The Target retail corporation announced that it will offer $5 coupons to customers who receive a COVID-19 vaccine at any of its CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide.
Retailers are also giving employees incentives to join the world of the vaccinated.
CNBC tallied a list that includes Instacart, Target, Trader Joe’s, Chobani, Petco, Darden Restaurants, McDonald’s, and Dollar General, all of which are giving workers time off and cash to get vaccinated. Kroger will pay employees $100 in store credit plus a one-time $100 cash payment, and Publix is offering employees a $125 store gift card.
Not to be outdone, a marijuana dispensary in Michigan will give anyone over 21 who has proof of having been vaccinated a free joint. The program is called “Pot for Shots.”
“We’re all hoping that the COVID vaccine is the beginning of the end for this pandemic that has taken such a toll on our neighbors, our communities and our nation,” according to a statement posted on the The Greenhouse website. “If you choose to get the COVID vaccine (we always support the freedom of choice) this is our way of saying ‘thank you’ for helping to end this pandemic and getting us back to normal.”
No purchase is necessary.
Damian McNamara is a staff journalist based in Miami. He covers a wide range of medical specialties, including infectious diseases, gastroenterology and neurology. Follow Damian on Twitter: @MedReporter.