It’s been well publicised that many countries throughout the world are encouraging their citizens to get vaccinated against COVID by offering a range of free incentives. Here in Australia the somewhat shambolic roll out of the vaccine has come more with a set of disincentives – like queuing for an hour or longer at Olympic Park or trawling the internet endlessly for a GP appointment. There’s not even a cup of tea and milk arrowroot biscuit awaiting when you have finally had the jab.
The Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly has apparently not ruled out a series of incentives to persuade more Australians to front up for their shot, with even a possible lottery on the cards. The latter has worked really well in the US state of Ohio where this month there is a weekly prize of $1 million for one lucky adult selected randomly from their database of vaccinated people. Even the 12-17 age group get in on the Vax-Lotto with a prize of a four year scholarship to a state college or university.
Elsewhere in the US and throughout the world, there’s an oddball collection of goodies on offer for those who present for vaccination. It ranges from the somewhat miserable free donut or beer in some US states, through to two boxes of eggs in some parts of China to a gold nose pin in India. In Russia you might get a free scoop of ice cream (ideal in Siberia), in Israel a loaf of challah and in Dubai a discount on your restaurant bill.
On the other hand in some countries like Indonesia authorities have adopted for disincentives with people refusing to be vaccinated facing fines or having their welfare payments docked. In North Korea, reports suggest that mass vaccination is not on the public agenda at all, despite the country closing its borders and instituting strict public health protocols. Whilst state media has given considerable time to the worst aspects of the pandemic worldwide, virtually no mention has been made of the campaign for global vaccination. There’s neither an incentive or disincentive to roll up your sleeve in the DPRK. Ignorance is bliss!
It’s obvious from the recent lockdown in Melbourne that we need to greatly accelerate the roll out of vaccines and if that means offering a whole smorgasbord of rewards to get the public motivated, the sooner the better. Here’s just a short list of suggestions, that I am confident if instigated, will have even the anti-vaxxers queuing to get their bonus.
WHEEL OF FORTUNE: Everybody loves an old school chocolate wheel, especially when it’s loaded with prizes like a set of steak knives, a Breville sandwich maker or even a Pete Evans BioCharger. Once that needle goes in, it’s your turn to spin and fingers crossed you don’t end up with that useless BioCharger.
MR WHIPPY TO THE RESCUE: The Government should commandeer every Mr Whippy van in the country and set up a roving mobile vax service. Get your jab and a free soft serve ice cream (hundreds and thousands extra). Let the sound of Greensleeves ring out in very Australian street as a reassurance that non-mandatory vaccination is only a street corner away.
THE ALLURE OF MERCH: If you have ever attended a large scale rock or music festival you’ll know how attractive ‘merchandising’ is for many of the attendees. The Government could even subsidise the cost of vaccination with a whole variety of attractive vax themed merch – like badges, t-shirts, bumper stickers, coffee cups and stubby holders. Think of how valuable some of this memorabilia could be in 20 years time when we look back on the pandemic.
MASSAGE PARLOUR ‘HAPPENING ENDING’: There are hundreds of massage parlours in Sydney and as we know the bulk of them are a tad more than just therapeutic. Instead of offering the traditional eleven finger massage, a registered nurse could be on hand to step in just before the moment of climax and offer a far more meaningful happy ending, a jab in upper arm.