Hong Kong’s vaccination programmme has gotten a million-dollar push as now authorities are going all out to improve the slow turnout at vaccination centres by offering incentives to people ranging from gold bars to Tesla cars to cash. Local businesses have now extended support by offering new and attractive gifts in exchange for getting COVID-19 vaccines.
Henderson Land Development Company has announced that those will get the Covid-19 jab will also have a chance to win gold bars, while another company, Sun Hang Kai Properties is offering iPhones to those who get jabs. And taking the incentives a notch higher is now also Australia’s industrial property company Goodman Group, who have announced lottery with over HK$1 million in prizes for those getting fully inoculated by August 31. They have also pledged to give away a Tesla Model 3 for the residents of Hong Kong, reported Bloomberg.
Industrialists have been announcing further prizes for people such as shopping vouchers, subsidies for lower income people and others. “The value of various lotteries or reward programs, we have learned from news reports, has exceeded HK$120 million,” Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam was quoted as saying.
Reports also suggested that the drives by the companies have managed to bring up the numbers of those getting jabbed significantly. About 34,600 people reserved vaccine slots from BioNTech SE and China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd on Tuesday.
Hong Kong is one of the few places in the world to have secured more than enough doses to inoculate all 7.5 million people. But rampant distrust of the government combined with a lack of urgency in a comparatively virus-free city — has led to hesitancy and a dismally lagging inoculation drive. The measures to boost jabs with such incentives had started back in May and now seems to be showing results.
The city’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam had earlier rejected calls for the government to offer cash handouts to encourage inoculations. She suggested local businesses provide the incentives.
“To offer cash or something physical to encourage vaccination shouldn’t be done by the government,” she said.
Vaccine lotteries have started catching on in the United States, with California, Colorado, Ohio, New York and Oregon offering a chance to win costly prizes.