Beers, joints and baseball: How the US is incentivizing Covid shots

By Laura Barros and Nora Quintanilla

Washington/New York, May 7 (EFE).- Beers, joints, donuts and baseball tickets — these are just some of the incentives on offer to encourage residents of the United States to get their Covid-19 vaccine as the country strives to hit its ambitious immunization targets within two months.

The District of Columbia City Hall on Thursday offered free beer in exchange for getting the vaccine at an event at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC.

One of those who took advantage of the offer was Bryan Benaiges, 24, who along with his brother got the jab in exchange for some “liquid gold.”

“I came for the vaccine, I wanted the Johnson & Johnson shot, which is just one, and the beer is the cherry on top,” he told Efe. “I messaged my brother to come with me like a social occasion, and we feel better and freer.”

Susana Castillo, the director of press at City Hall, said one of the aims of the event was to allay fears about the vaccine present in the Latino community in the city.

“It’s free, you get free uber transport, we give you a free beer, there is no excuse,” she told Efe.

“There are still a lot of doubts (in the Latino community) about the security of the vaccine, which is why events like this are fun and give people an incentive.”

These initiatives, which add a social aspect to the vaccination process, come as Joe Biden’s administration rushes to hit its target of offering at least one dose of a jab to 70% of all adults in the US, some 160 million people, by 4 July, which the president has billed as ‘Independence Day’ from the virus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 57% of American adults have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and 106 million people have had the full course. After a quick start, the rollout has somewhat slowed and a chunk of the population, between 20% to 40% according to surveys, are reluctant to get the shot at all.

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