Photo used for illustrative purpose.
Free beer, free doughnuts, free baseball tickets and savings bonds — government officials and businesses are teaming up to encourage Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
President Joe Biden wants 70 per cent of adults to have received at least one shot by Independence Day on July 4, and overcoming vaccine hesitancy is key to reaching the goal.
"We know there are millions of Americans who need a little bit of encouragement to get the shot," Biden told reporters at the White House on Tuesday.
Some 56 per cent of American adults — more than 145 million people — have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but the pace of vaccination has been slowing lately.
Federal, state and local officials are partnering with pharmacies, restaurants, breweries, supermarkets and sports teams to come up with incentives to get people to get their jabs.
In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy launched a "Shot and a beer" program to encourage vaccination.
"Any New Jerseyan who gets their first vaccine dose in the month of May and takes their vaccination card to a participating brewery will receive a free beer," Murphy tweeted. The offer is only open, of course, to residents of the "Garden State" who are over the age of 21, the legal drinking age in the United States.
Governor Ned Lamont of the state of Connecticut unveiled a similar "Free Drink" promotion with participating restaurants last month.
In Washington, Mayor Muriel Bowser urged residents of the nation's capital to "come get vaccinated and grab a beer, on us" at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that shots would be offered at games featuring the city's Major League Baseball clubs, the New York Yankees and the New York Mets."And if you get a vaccine you get a free ticket to a Yankees or a Mets game," Cuomo said.
Uber and Lyft are offering free and discounted rides to vaccine centers while some supermarkets are offering 10 per cent off grocery purchases with proof of vaccination. In West Virginia, Governor Jim Justice announced that the state will offer $100 savings bonds to residents aged 16 to 35 who get vaccinated.
"Our kids today probably don't really realise just how important they are in shutting this thing down," Justice said. "I'm trying to come up with a way that's truly going to motivate them -- and us -- to get over the hump."
"They're not taking vaccines as fast as we'd like them to take them," Justice said. "If we really want to move the needle, we've got to get our younger people vaccinated." In Maryland, Governor Larry Hogan said state employees who get vaccinated will receive a $100 bonus.
They also must agree to receive any booster shots recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or they will have to reimburse the $100.
"Incentives like this are another way to reinforce the importance of getting vaccinated, and we strongly encourage businesses across the state to consider offering incentives to their workers as well," Hogan said.
Krispy Kreme is offering a free glazed doughnut to anyone who presents their COVID-19 vaccination card at one of its stores.
According to a survey conducted in March by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 25 per cent of Americans aged 18 to 29 are adopting a "wait and see" attitude towards being vaccinated.
Among US adults, 61 per cent said they had been vaccinated or intended to do so as soon as possible while 17 per cent said they were adopting a "wait and see" approach and 13 per cent said they will "definitely not" get vaccinated.
Member states are struggling to contain a third wave of the epidemic and kick-start vaccine programmes slowed by a shortfall in deliveries, and Britain has warned the bloc against resorting "vaccine nationalism."
Following an EU summit, French President Emmanuel Macron said there was a "new type of world war," adding: "We are looking in particular at Russian and Chinese attacks and attempts to gain influence through the vaccine."
The fresh suspensions were a major blow to a global immunisation campaign that experts hope will help end a year-long pandemic that has already killed over 2.6 million people and decimated the global economy.
The announcement comes as the Ministry of Health and Prevention on Sunday expanded coronavirus vaccine eligibility in line with the UAE's proactive policy to ensure the health and safety of all community members.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid also dispatched a message of condolence to Indian President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the victims of the train collision
At least 288 people were killed and hundreds more injured in a three-train collision in India, officials said Saturday, the country's deadliest rail accident in more than 20 years.
The nation-wide campaign aims to spread awareness about the environmental sustainability issues, encourage local community engagement and support climate action-related strategies.