If you were a little hesitant about getting the COVID vaccine, what would it take to change your mind? Cash? Free beer? Tickets to the big game? Doughnuts? A car? A lifetime fishing license? Or is all of that too tame to get you to roll up your sleeve?
Throughout 2021, governments and companies around the world tried all kinds of crazy incentives to get people jabbed. Here are five that we loved — one of which is made up. Can you spot the fake?
Bakas for Vaccines. In the Philippine town of San Luis, the vaccinated are entered in a monthly raffle to win a cow (a “Baka” in Tagalog), delivered to the winner’s door by the mayor himself. Each jab counts as an entry, so the double-vaxxed have twice as big a shot at winning. Still, despite this bovine bonus, the Philippines has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Southeast Asia, at just 44 percent.
Nose ring and a hand-blender anyone? Goldsmiths in the Indian city of Rajkot, in the state of Gujarat, banded together to open a vaccination site that offered free gold nose pins for women who get the jab. The prize for men was a free hand blender! Among the most populous Indian states, Gujarat has the second highest rate of full vaccination, at 86 percent.
Joints for jabs. Back in June, the US state of Washington offered free, pre-rolled marijuana joints to anyone 21 and older who could prove they’d received at least one jab. Washington was the first US state to legalize cannabis, back in 2012, and it ranks an impressive tenth overall in vaccination rates in the US, with 68 percent. But they could surely roll up some more spliffs to get that number even higher.
Rum punches COVID in the face. The Galleon rum distillery in Curaçao is giving out free shots of their stuff to anyone who gets the jab — but that’s just an aperitif. Everyone also enters a raffle where the grand prize is to snorkel for 15 minutes through a gigantic vat that’s filled with Galleon rum and outfitted with an LED-lit “shipwreck” — a replica of one of the famous, treasure-laden galleons that sunk off the nearby Venezuelan coast in the 17th century, giving the distillery its name. If you can survive that, then COVID doesn’t stand a chance — vaxxed or not.
Coitus against COVID. A Viennese brothel is using the world’s oldest profession to encourage uptake of the world’s newest vaccine. The women of Fun Palast (Fun Palace) offer a free 30-minute fling to anyone who gets vaccinated on site. Carnal encouragements notwithstanding, Austria still has one of Western Europe’s lowest vaccination rates.