Free Pizza and Six Flags Tickets Add to U.S. Vaccination Lures

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Six Flags amusement park tickets, Shake Shack burgers and free pizza are the latest rewards rolled out by U.S. state and city officials to spur Covid-19 vaccination rates.

Coupled with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance that fully vaccinated people can shed masks indoors and outdoors, the freebies signal there’s a reward particularly for those who may be on the fence. In Ohio, it could mean winning a $1 million jackpot.

Six Flags Entertainment Corp. joined the fray on Thursday, offering 50,000 day tickets valued at more than $4 million “to encourage Illinois residents to get vaccinated, especially in underserved communities.” Maryland Governor Larry Hogan is promoting a 10,000-pie giveaway by Ledo Pizza for people who have completed their first dose.

“Our effort right now is to get this last group of folks vaccinated,” Hogan said in video posted by WUSA-TV. “And any kind of incentive we can do to get people to get out and get their shots, it’s going to help us reach that goal so we can all get rid of the masks and get things back to normal.”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio earlier on Thursday touted Shake Shack Inc. fries on Twitter, saying people who get vaccinated in the city can get a voucher for a burger or sandwich at the New York-based restaurant chain.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine batted away criticism that his plan for five weekly drawings of a $1 million award for adults who have received at least one dose is a waste of federal pandemic relief funds.

“No one has tried this and we just thought that it was worth to try this,” he said on “CBS This Morning” on Thursday. “This is money that we got from the federal government to fight the virus. The only game in town really at this point is the vaccine.”

While 42% of people in Ohio are vaccinated and some will refuse to get a shot, the goal is to reach “the persuadables in the middle,” said DeWine, who announced the lottery in a speech on Wednesday.

President Joe Biden and other administration officials have consistently urged Americans to get vaccinated. Daily vaccination in the U.S. has declined from a peak of 4.63 million in April to 1.55 million on Wednesday, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker. At this pace, it’ll take another three months to cover 75% of the population.

The latest incentives add to efforts such as a free craft-brewery beer for New Jersey residents who get their first dose in May and a signup by Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Budweiser brand for a round on the house “if you’ve been vaccinated.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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