YOUNG adults will be offered cinema tickets, taxi tides and fast food in return for getting their Covid jabs, according to new government plans.
Government sources say around 30 firms are in talks to join a new scheme which officials hope will drive more young people to get the vaccine.
So far, taxi giants Uber and Bolt as well as the fast-food service Deliveroo are on board, and Pizza Pilgrims will also offer rewards for any young person 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.”
Currently around 67% of people aged 18-29 in England have already received a first dose of a vaccine.
The Sunday Telegraph report that if this could be increased to 80% it may be head off the need for vaccine passports in nightclubs.
However, Tim Blake, professor of politics at London’s Queen Mary’s University described the scheme as a “gimmick.”
He said: Young people have a right to expect a long term than a handful of voichers 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 limits 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.
And 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 vaccines centres as running competitions on social media.
But officials assured potential applications to the discount scheme that the companies would not hold or ask for any data or health.
Yesterday was the target date for hitting 52.8 million first shot vaccinations but that fell short at just over 56.8 million.
Health Secretary Savid Javid said: “Thank you to all the businesses who are stepping up support this important vaccine drive.”
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And he told young people: “Once available, please go out and take advantage of the discounts.”
Public House 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.
Covid cases fell for the tenth day in a row yesterday with 26, 144 infections reported as the number of deaths also fell by 18%.