Discounts on holidays, clothes, gym classes and taxis as fight against Covid ‘vaccine hesitancy’ stepped up

Britons can enjoy discounts on holidays, clothes, gym classes and bus and taxi trips in return for Covid jabs, as the fight against “vaccine hesitancy” is stepped up.

© Getty

The move comes as first doses for 16- and 17-year-olds in England are accelerated

– Getty

Asda, lastminute.com, National Express, the Better leisure group and the Free Now taxi app have joined forces with the government to offer the rewards.

The move – which comes as first doses for 16- and 17-year-olds in England are accelerated before schools return in September – was hailed as “fantastic” by the health secretary Sajid Javid.

“Get the jab as soon as possible and take advantage of these excellent offers – whether that’s for taxi rides, gym passes or trips away with family and friends,” he urged the public.

The announcement coincides with the lifting of isolation rules for double-vaccinated people who are identified as close contacts of Covid cases, from Monday.

The taxi companies Uber and Bolt, as well as Deliveroo, had already backed the vaccination programme with offers to people who came forward to be jabbed.

The new rewards available will be:

* £30 gift cards towards foreign holidays for all young people getting vaccinated through the lastminute.com website.

* £10 vouchers for Asda’s clothing brand George for 18- to 30-year-olds spending more than £20 – offered at pop-up clinics in London, Birmingham and Watford.

* £10 discounts on Better membership and a free three-day pass at any of the firm’s 235 leisure centres across the UK.

* Up to £1m in free taxi rides for over-18s until the end of September, offered by Free Now.

* Five-day unlimited travel for 1,000 people travelling on National Express buses in the Midlands.

Mr Javid added: “It is fantastic to see more companies backing the phenomenal vaccine rollout and joining the public as they do everything they can to continue protecting their loved ones, themselves, their community and this country.”

Andrea Bertoli, chief executive of lastminute.com, said: “We know this summer has been difficult for everyone, so we’re delighted to be partnering with the government’s young people’s vaccination scheme.”

And Joseph Rham, commercial director at Better, said: “We hope that by offering free passes and discount vouchers to our 235 gyms, leisure and sports centres across the UK, we will encourage many more young people to take up their vaccine.”

There are hopes of declining vaccine hesitancy among adults, with 70 per cent of 18- to 29-year-olds now having had their first dose.

Data last week suggested more than 84,000 lives have been saved by the vaccine programme since the first jab was delivered to 91-year-old Margaret Keenan last December.

It is calculated to have stopped about 23 million infections – preventing the pandemic from exploding again after lockdown rules in England were lifted last month.

However, cases remain much higher in the UK than elsewhere in Europe, with 29,520 new infections – and 93 further Covid-related deaths – recorded on Saturday.

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