Kebabs for jabs as young people to be offered free food to get vaccine

The reward scheme hopes to lure young people aged 18-30 to getting their coronavirus vaccine with Deliveroo and Pizza Pilgrims among the major companies to be offering incentives

Ryan Dobie, 24, receives a Covid-19 vaccination at a pop-up clinic in a circus marquee in Halifax

Youngsters will be ­offered cinema tickets, taxi rides and even pizza or kebabs in return for getting their Covid jabs.

Government sources say around 30 firms are in talks to join the scheme which officials hope will drive more young people to get the vaccine.

So far, taxi giants Uber and Bolt as well as fast-food service Deliveroo are on board, and Pizza Pilgrims will also offer rewards for any youngster who gets the vaccine.

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “Thank you to the businesses who have backed this mission – please get your jabs as soon as you can and grab a bargain.”

The “more carrot and less stick” move comes as the Government appeared to drop its much-criticised plan to force students to have two jabs before returning to university this autumn.

Kebab for a jab?


Getty Images)

But Tim Bale, professor of politics at London’s Queen Mary University, said: “Young people have a right to expect a whole lot more in the long term than a handful of vouchers for rides and pizza.

“Gimmicks are great and the Government should get some credit for thinking outside the box.

“But what young people really need – and deserve – from the Government is a far-sighted and properly funded post-Covid recovery plan.”

No age limit has been agreed on the deals yet but the scheme is designed to increase the uptake of ­vaccines in 18-30 year olds.

Under the scheme, Uber will begin sending reminders to all users of its app from next month.

It will offer discounts for taxis and meals through its Uber Eats arm. Bolt – which has already offered £250,000 in free-ride credit to London vaccination centres – will extend the offer across the country.

A Department of Health source said other partners in the scheme could include cinemas and restaurants.

They will also offer discount codes for people booking through the NHS app and attending pop-up vaccine centres as well as running competitions on social media.

Officials assured potential applications to the discount scheme that the companies would not hold or ask for any data on health.

Jamie Heywood of Uber said: “We’re proud to be working with the Government on this important campaign to encourage everyone to get their jab.”

Deliveroo said: “We want to do our small part to support the NHS during the pandemic. This is the next step in helping get people vaccinated and back to normal.”

Thom Elliot, Pizza Pilgrims founder, said: “By making getting your jab as easy as grabbing a pizza, hopefully we can help our teams and customers get their first and second doses as easily and quickly as possible.”

Around 67% of people aged 18-29 in England have already received a first dose of a vaccine. But the Government wants to do more across summer to prevent a possible Covid rise in autumn.

Saturday was the target date for hitting 52.8 million first-shot ­vaccinations but that fell short at just over 46.8million.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Thank you to all the businesses who are stepping up to support this important vaccine drive.”

And he told young people: “Once available, please go out and take advantage of the discounts.”

Governments around the world are launching similar initiatives.

In Moscow, authorities have set up a prize draw and have been handing out five cars a week.

In the US President Biden is urging local governments to offer $100 incentives to help drive up jab numbers.

In Washington state, retailers are allowed to offer a free marijuana joint.

Pop-up vaccine sites continued in the UK this weekend, including at Circus Extreme in Halifax, West Yorks, where performers watched colleague Ryan Dobie, 24, get his first shot.

Public Health England and Cambridge University say around 60,000 deaths, 22 million infections and 52,600 hospitalisations have been prevented by vaccines up to July 23.

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Covid cases fell for the 10th day in a row ­on Saturday, with 26,144 infections reported – down 18% on last Saturday’s figure of 31,795.

And the number of deaths announced ­yesterday was 71 – down 18% from 86 last Saturday.

The Department for Education confirmed the Government currently has no plans to require university students to be fully jabbed to attend lectures.

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