Want a ganja spliff? Get vaccinated against COVID-19

GANJA is among a variety of incentives being offered to Americans reluctant to take the COVID-19 vaccine. For getting the jab, they can also get airline tickets, a motor vehicle, free beer, cash, food and several other prizes.

The promotional efforts also include an offer of US$50 to people who give others a ride to vaccination site in Detroit.

Chicago is sending specially equipped buses into neighbourhoods to deliver vaccines, the Associated Press reported. Several marijuana dispensaries around the country are giving out cannabis treats or free rolled joints.

On April 20, marijuana advocates offered “joints for jabs” to encourage people to get vaccinated in New York City and Washington.

Public health officials say the efforts are crucial to reach people who haven’t been immunised yet, whether because they are hesitant or because they have had trouble making an appointment or getting to a vaccination site.

Demand for vaccines has started to fall around the country — something health officials expected would happen once the most vulnerable and most eager to get the shot had the opportunity to do so.

Now that most older Americans are fully vaccinated, the effort is moving into a new phase.

Chicago officials are planning vaccination sites at festivals and block parties and are working with barber shops and hair and nail salons to pair free services with vaccination.

“The idea here is to bring the party, bring the vaccine and really have this be a convenient way for people to get vaccinated,” Chicago Health Commissioner Dr Allison Arwady, told AP.

Several companies have announced that employees can take paid time off to get vaccinated.

In West Virginia where only about 35 per cent of people had received at least one dose as of Wednesday, US$100 savings bonds are being offered to young adults who get their shot.

Krispy Kreme began offering a free doughnut a day to anyone showing proof of having been vaccinated.

In Cleveland, a movie theatre is supplying free popcorn through the end of this month. Some breweries around the country are offering “shots and a chaser”.

In Alaska, the Norton Sound Health Corporation, with a hospital in Nome and 15 clinics across western Alaska, has given away prizes including airline tickets, money toward the purchase of an all-terrain vehicle, and US$500 for groceries or fuel.

There have also been calls for health systems and universities to mandate vaccination – that no one can be employed or on campus/medical facilities without having been vaccinated – and that the nation should mount a “counteroffensive” against anti-vaccination websites and activists.

Coming Monday in COVID CAPERS: How do children see the coronavirus

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