Free marijuana, doughnuts and gym passes are being used overseas to incentivise people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
It comes after Australian vaccination hubs and clinics opened their doors over-50s on Monday as part of the nation’s revised rollout timeline.
Victoria’s health authorities said they were swamped by people trying to book a vaccine appointment – with apparently no freebies needed.
It was a promising sign, given widespread uptake of the vaccine remains our best chance of putting the pandemic behind us.
Around the world, countries, cities and companies are using the carrot instead of the stick to get as many citizens vaccinated as possible.
From the creative to the downright bizarre, here are some of the most notable campaigns.
- Click here to see Australia’s coronavirus vaccine campaign
Song and dance in Singapore
“Singapore, don’t wait and see. Better get your shot. Steady pom pi pi!”
In unique style, the Singaporean government has launched a colourful social media campaign urging citizens to get vaccinated against COVID-19 through song and dance.
How Singapore is encouraging citizens to get the jab… pic.twitter.com/7t16XCxjUp
— Max Walden (@maxwalden_) May 2, 2021
Astute viewers might recognise ‘Uncle Phua’ as the face of the government’s viral health campaign during the SARS epidemic from 2002 to 2004.
Now, the eccentric curly-haired sitcom character has been wheeled out again to promote coronavirus vaccines and hand hygiene.
Fitness junkies rewarded in the United Arab Emirates
In Dubai, the strategy to get UAE residents vaccinated is less entertaining than Singapore’s approach, but potentially more effective.
For gym-goers, it’s a major win.
The initiative, launchd by Dubai Sports Council and titled ‘Everyone is Responsible for Everyone’, rewards people who have received their two doses of COVID-19 with free access to some of Dubai’s top fitness and sports centres.
Starting from May 3, the incentive will run for 10 days in a bid to promote healthy habits and the coronavirus vaccines.
Doughnuts, popcorn and… marijuana?
In the United States – where 39 per cent of the adult population has been fully vaccinated – a growing number of businesses are offering free giveaways to vaccinated Americans.
And unlike Dubai’s fitness freebies, none of them are healthy.
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is offering anyone with proof of a COVID-19 vaccination a free doughnut every day for the rest of the year.
(That is seriously one free doughnut every day, until 2021 disappears.)
Last month, a movie cinema in Cleveland, Ohio, gave out free popcorn to vaccinated moviegoers, while a popular brewery continues to offer 10-cent beers to the first 2021 adults who show their completed vaccine card.
But the most unusual giveaway is happening at marijuana dispensaries.
In Walled Lake, Michigan, the Green House of Walled Lake is giving anyone over the age of 21 a free pre-rolled joint if they can prove they have been vaccinated.
The “Pot for Shots” promotion is a “way of saying thank you for helping to end this pandemic and getting us back to normal,” the dispensary said.
The Mint Dispensary in Arizona also offered a free cannabis edible to anyone who had one or both shots during March.
Egg-citing rewards in China
In some parts of China, the COVID-19 vaccine comes with a carton of eggs.
It’s part of the Chinese government’s push to inoculate 40 per cent of its population by June.
As well as free eggs, people getting a shot can collect shop coupons and discounts on groceries.
In Beijing, the vaccinated are also rewarded with a buy-one-get-one-free ice cream cone.
One restaurant was reportedly offering free chicken wings and dumplings, while a temple in Beijing offered free entry in exchange for getting the jab.