Young people will be given discounted takeaways and taxi rides to get their Covid jabs in a bid to accelerate vaccine uptake, the government has mentioned.
Food delivery and taxi-hailing firms like Uber, Bolt, Deliveroo and Pizza Pilgrims will incentivize people to get vaccinated.
The Department of Health stated details on more partnerships would be shared “in due course”. More than 68% of 18 to 29-year-olds in England have had the first jab in the country, more than 72% of UK adults have had two doses so far, while 88.5% have had one.
Taxi firm Uber will send reminders to all users in August insisting they get vaccinated – and will offer discounted rides and meals on its Uber Eats platform for young people who have the vaccine.
Deliveroo will also provide vouchers, while Bolt, another taxi app firm, will offer “free ride credit” to vaccination centres. Some local councils and charities have already been providing free taxis to help people reach vaccination centres.
The Department of Health mentioned other incentives could comprise “vouchers or discount codes for people attending pop-up vaccine sites and booking through the NHS, social media competitions and promotional offers for restaurants”. It also added that firms would not request or store any health data for the incentive system.
At this stage, it is not known what age group the incentives will apply to and whether those who have already had the jab will be qualified. The government has mentioned that discussions were ongoing with companies, and the following details would be published in due course.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid thanked companies for “stepping up” to boost the vaccine drive and urged people to “take advantage of the discounts”.
The announcement of the newest initiative in the government’s vaccine drive comes after a row of pop-up vaccine centres opened across England this weekend – with sites comprising Burnley FC’s Turf Moor ground, Goodwood Racecourse near Chichester, and the Summer of Love Festival in west London’s Holland Park.
A four-day festival with live music and free food, and walk-in vaccine clinics, is being conducted in Poplar, east London, until Monday.
As per the records, everyone over 18 has been able to sign up for a Covid jab in England since mid-June. However, so far, two-thirds of 18 to 29-year-olds have come forward. The proportion is much lower than the population as a whole, and ministers are keen to increase uptake before the end of summer. We’ve already seen the stick; the prime minister cautioning Covid passports could halt the unvaccinated getting into nightclubs and other venues.