In brief: Hong Kong businesses are offering incentives for its citizens to get vaccinated, including the chance to win iPhones, a Tesla, an apartment, and even a pile of gold—and the plan is working. Bookings for both doses of the vaccine have been on the increase since the campaign began.
Bloomberg reports that Hong Kong authorities are turning to local businesses and their billionaire owners to help improve vaccine uptake. Only about 15.1% of Hong Kong’s 7.5 million population has been fully inoculated, lower than many other major finance centers.
As with many people who refuse the vaccine, fears over potential side effects is putting many off, as is the lack of trust in the Beijing-back government.
The low case numbers in Hong Kong, which still has many of the world’s strictest quarantine and social distancing measures, are causing some people to question why they need to be vaccinated. There are currently around just seven new infections recorded per day, and there has been 210 deaths since the pandemic began, with only a handful this year. But the need to fully reopen the economy and protect against new variants prompted the incentive plan.
To encourage those who don’t want or believe they need to take the vaccine, Hong Kong business magnate Li Ka-shing’ CK Group is giving away $2.6 million in shopping vouchers via a lottery to anyone who has had two shots. Another company is giving away $1.29 million in subsidies for lower-income residents who have been vaccinated.
Some other firms are offering even more compelling items: iPhones, a Tesla Model 3, cash payouts, vouchers, and extra time off for employees. One firm has gold bars as prizes, while another is allowing the vaccinated population a chance to win a new $1.4 million apartment.
Image credit: Studio Romantic