CORONAVIRUS VACCINE

What freebies can you get for getting a covid-19 vaccine in Texas?

As the national vaccine distribution rate drops many companies and local authorities are offering incentives to get the shot, from free beer to bobbleheads.

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What freebies can you get for getting covid-19 vaccine in Texas?
JOSE LUIS GONZALEZ REUTERS

Recent figures from Texas show that there has been a worrying drop-off in vaccine uptake, leading local health officials to look for more creative ways to encourage residents to get a covid-19 vaccination.

At the start of the year the NRG Park vaccine clinic was administering up to 6,000 doses a day, but by the end of April the daily total had dipped below 3,000. This trend is born out in state-wide figures with only 33% of Texans now fully vaccinated, compared to the national average of 37%.

“In January, we couldn’t get the vaccine out fast enough. We had our phones ringing off the hook,” said Roberta Schwartz, executive vice president of Houston Methodist Hospital. “My concern was always for this day and time where we had more vaccine than people who were anxious to get it.”

Texans offered incentives to receive covid-19 vaccines

As is the case in many states across the country, Texas residents can pick up some freebies after receiving a covid-19 vaccine with incentives from a wide range of businesses. If you need a refreshing beverage to take the edge off after receiving your vaccination, you can get a free drink from Budweiser and Sam Adams just for showing your vaccine card.

If you’re feeling a bit hungry after the vaccine you can also pick up some great freebies from a number of leading fast food chains. White Castle are offering a free ‘dessert-on-a-stick’ for anyone with the vaccine, while Krispy Kreme are providing complimentary glazed doughnuts.

To help those who want a vaccine to get to their appointment, ride-hailing apps Uber and Lyft are offering free or discounted rides for customers in underserved areas. For some isolated rural residents getting to a vaccine centre can be tricky, but both companies are allowing anyone with a vaccine appointment to apply for free rides.

Lyft spokesperson Danielle Adams told NBC News that the company would provide “a total of 60 million rides to and from vaccination sites for low-income, uninsured, and at-risk communities.”

Local authorities approve vaccine incentive spending

Alongside these initiatives introduced by various companies, local authorities in Texas’ biggest county have given the greenlight to a burst of spending to encourage more people to sign up for the shot. In late April the Harris County Commissioners Court approved a total of $250,000 of public money to be spent on gift cards, events and other incentives.

That money will be taken from the county’s Public Improvement Contingency fund and will go towards various things. The Houston Chronicle report the Commissioners suggested “vaccine-promotion concerts, gift cards to local businesses, firework shows and Jose Altuve bobblehead dolls as incentives.”

County Judge Lina Hidalgo said that the vaccination effort would be crucial to hopes of returning to normality in the near future, saying “We desperately need these people to get vaccinated, particularly the young people.”

She also issued a call to residents who have an idea for an incentive that they would like to see, and the county will consider it. She said: “Put your thinking caps on and reach out to pursue what ideas any of us have.”