From beer to blenders – 5 creative ways people are being persuaded to get their COVID-19 vaccination

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Emma Charlton, Senior Writer, Formative Content


  • COVID-19 vaccination take-up varies by region and ethnicity.
  • Commonly cited concerns include worries about side effects and safety, according to Imperial College London.
  • In the UK, the Black, Asian, Ethnic and Minority community are 20% less likely to get a vaccine when offered.
  • Innovative ways to bolster uptake include incentives, education and pop-up jab centres.

Have you had your COVID-19 vaccination yet?

Your answer probably depends on where you live in the world, whether you’ve been offered one, and how you would feel if you were offered.

Achieving herd immunity through vaccination or prior infection is front of mind for policy makers around the world as they battle against the pandemic.

While effective vaccines were developed in record time, getting them out to people has proven somewhat challenging. Some regions are lagging far behind, with India and Latin America in the crosshairs, and even those wealthy countries with well-established jab programmes are meeting areas of resistance.

a chart showing which location people would most like to get vaccinated in
Where people prefer to get jabbed. Image: KFF

Rural areas in the US are lagging urban ones, and in the UK take-up has been found to vary by religion and ethnicity. Commonly cited concerns include worries over potential side effects and whether the vaccines are safe and effective, according to Imperial College London.

Here are some innovative ways different nations are seeking to boost their numbers:

1. Take the vaccines to them

Making it as easy as possible to access the vaccine is one strategy.

In Louisiana, where state surveys show around 40% or more people are hesitant to get the vaccine, immunization clinics have popped up at a Buddhist temple, homeless shelters, truck stops and casinos, according to a report in the Independent.

2. Workplace encouragement

With a COVID-19 report from Arizona State University, the World Economic Forum and the Rockefeller Foundation showing that almost nine out of 10 employers are planning to require or encourage their employees to get vaccinated, the workplace is one way to reach people.

a chat showing what percentage of companies will incentivize their workforce t get a jab
No jab, no job? Image: ASU

Food chain Red Rooster is among many food and beverage companies incentivizing staff; it has offered employees a $250 bonus and two paid days off work, according to a report on Forbes.com. McDonald’s and Darden Restaurant Inc. are also offering paid time off to get the vaccine, the same report says.

3. Educate

Education is seen as a key way to counteract misinformation.

In the UK, where COVID-19 vaccination uptake has been shown to vary by ethnicity, Sir Lenny Henry wrote an open letter urging Black Britons to get the jab and also starred in a video alongside other well-known individuals.

“People in the Black, Asian, Ethnic and Minority community are 20% less likely to take up the vaccine,” Sir Lenny says in the video, made in conjunction with Imperial College London’s Institute of Global Health Innovation.

The rate of people aged over 70 in the Black African group receiving a first vaccine dose was just under 60%, compared with a rate of more than 90% for people identifying as white British, according to the UK Office for National Statistics. https://www.youtube.com/embed/SNLqaGVmk_Q?enablejsapi=1&wmode=transparent

In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has designed a toolkit to help community-based organizations educate communities and promote vaccination.

4. Free drinks

In a bid to reach younger people, Israel, which has one of the most advanced vaccination programmes, is heading to the bars.

In Tel Aviv, a vaccination point has been set up outside a bar in the city and jabs are offered in exchange for a free drink, Sky News reported.

5. Cash and gifts

When all else fails, cold, hard cash could be the answer. State employees who get vaccinated in Maryland are eligible for a $100 payment, according to reporting in the New York Times.

Gold nose pins and stick blenders are on offer to those getting shots in India, the Guardian reported, while in China, the prize is two boxes of eggs. coronavirus, health, COVID19, pandemic

What is the World Economic Forum doing to manage emerging risks from COVID-19?

The first global pandemic in more than 100 years, COVID-19 has spread throughout the world at an unprecedented speed. At the time of writing, 4.5 million cases have been confirmed and more than 300,000 people have died due to the virus.

As countries seek to recover, some of the more long-term economic, business, environmental, societal and technological challenges and opportunities are just beginning to become visible.

To help all stakeholders – communities, governments, businesses and individuals understand the emerging risks and follow-on effects generated by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with Marsh and McLennan and Zurich Insurance Group, has launched its COVID-19 Risks Outlook: A Preliminary Mapping and its Implications – a companion for decision-makers, building on the Forum’s annual Global Risks Report.

Companies are invited to join the Forum’s work to help manage the identified emerging risks of COVID-19 across industries to shape a better future. Read the full COVID-19 Risks Outlook: A Preliminary Mapping and its Implications report here, and our impact story with further information.

“We know that some people, particularly younger generations and ethnic minorities, have worries that may stop them from taking the vaccine when offered,” said Professor Darzi, Co-Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation, Imperial College London and Consultant Surgeon at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, who commissioned the video starring Sir Lenny Henry.

“We must listen to the concerns people are voicing and with this campaign we hope to offer reassurance and show how important it is to get vaccinated, so that we can bring closer the end to this devastating pandemic.”

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