UK to offer shopping vouchers, pizza discounts to boost youth vaccinations

From shopping vouchers and pizza discounts to Uber reminders, the UK is planning a so-called “vouchers for vaccines” scheme to encourage greater uptake of COVID-19 vaccines among the younger age groups of the country.

A number of ride-hailing and food delivery apps will be offering discounted travel and meals to people who get vaccinated, with offers including free lifts to vaccine centres and cheap meals for those already inoculated. Uber, Bolt, Deliveroo and Pizza Pilgrims are among the brands in the UK that are part of the government-backed scheme.

“This is the next step in helping get people vaccinated and safely back to normal,” a spokesperson for Deliveroo said.

“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,” added Thom Elliot, Pizza Pilgrims Founder.

According to UK media reports, 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 themselves at a vaccine centre.

UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid urged people to “take advantage of the discounts” and thanked the businesses involved for “stepping up”.

“Please get your jabs as soon as you can and grab a bargain,” added UK Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi.

Ride-hailing app firm Uber will be sending reminders to all users in August encouraging them to get a vaccine against COVID-19.

“We’re proud to be working with the government on this important campaign to encourage everyone to get their jab,” said Jamie Heywood, Uber’s regional general manager for northern and eastern Europe.

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The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said companies will not ask for or hold any health data for the incentive scheme.

According to the latest official data, a total of 84.9 million doses have been administered in the UK, with 46.8 million people receiving a first dose (88.5 per cent of the adult population) and 38.1 million people receiving both doses (72.1 per cent). Currently, around 67 per cent of 18 to 29-year-olds have had at least a single injection, according to DHSC.

Data from Public Health England (PHE) and Cambridge University show that about 60,000 deaths, 22 million infections and 52,600 hospitalisation admissions had been prevented by vaccines up to July 23.

Unvaccinated people account for about 60 per cent of all hospital admissions, according to PHE estimates.

The government is keen to now push for greater uptake among the under-30s to prevent severe COVID-19 infection after lockdown measures eased up last month.



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