An elderly man will be given Covid-19 vaccine at the AstraZeneca Central Vaccination Center in Bang Sue Grand Station on July 13, 2021 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Sirachai Arunrugstichai | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Businesses and local governments in Asia are developing creative ways to promote vaccinations among people who are still reluctant to get one – distributing everything from gold to farm animals.
The Asia-Pacific region is battling a resurgence of Covid as major cities in China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia report rising cases daily, particularly from the highly contagious Delta variant of the disease.
But most of Asia is struggling with low vaccination rates as vaccination hesitation persists and vaccine misinformation spreads.
In addition, many countries cannot get enough doses for their populations.
According to Our World in Data, vaccine progress is lagging behind Europe and North America. On August 8, 41.6% of Europeans and 38.8% of North Americans were fully vaccinated, compared with only about 11.6% of people in Asia.
Hong Kong: apartment, gold and a private flight
Hong Kong companies are giving awards to raise vaccination rates amid public distrust of the government.
Several sponsors, including the real estate developer Sino Group, have arranged a raffle for the vaccinated. The grand prize is a new one-bedroom apartment valued at approximately Hong Kong $ 10.8 million ($ 1.39 million).
To support a government vaccination campaign, Cathay Pacific Airways has awarded 20 million airline miles in Asia. A winner can host a private party on board the airline’s new Airbus A321neo.
An organization of gold trading firms – the China Gold and Silver Exchange – is giving away Hong Kong dollars worth 1.1 million Hong Kong dollars to those who have received two Covid shots.
Incentives provided by companies totaled more than $ 73 million Hong Kong ($ 9.4 million), the South China Morning Post reported in June. According to Our World in Data, about 35% of Hong Kong’s population was fully vaccinated on August 8th.
Philippines: land, cattle and sacks of rice
Both local governments and private companies are doing their part to get more people to vaccinate.
The community of San Luis Pampanga has started a campaign to give vaccinated people the chance to win a cow.
Congresswoman Camille Villar offered a number of incentives to the people of her town when they were vaccinated. Las Pinas City residents have a chance of winning a home, motorcycles, and even groceries if they receive at least one dose of Covid vaccine, the Manila Times reported.
On the outskirts of Manila, in Sucat, according to Reuters, 20 people have the chance to take a 25-kilogram sack of rice home with them every week if they get their injections. The initiative aims to attract poorer residents who need an extra boost to get vaccinated, the news agency said.
While some give out rewards, others threaten those who don’t get vaccinated.
After weak participation in several vaccination centers in the capital Manila in June, the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is said to have warned residents: “If you do not want to be vaccinated, I will have you arrested.”
As the city prepared for a two-week lockdown on Friday, Reuters reported that thousands of people showed up at vaccination centers across Manila.
Only 9.8% of the country’s population was fully vaccinated by August 5, according to Our World in Data numbers.
Indonesia: live chickens
Indonesia has the second highest number of cases in Asia, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
According to several media reports, government agencies in Cipanas, West Java Province, are distributing 500 live chickens to vaccinated seniors.
About 85% of Indonesia’s population are Muslim. Despite the religious approval of the country’s top Islamic body, many are concerned about whether the vaccines are halal or allowed by Islam.
“I was afraid that if I was vaccinated I would die immediately …
According to Our World in Data, 8.7% of the total population of Indonesia are fully vaccinated on August 8th.
India: gold, mixers and discounts
In India, McDonald’s fast food chain is offering vaccinated customers a 20% discount.
Goldsmiths in Rajkot, Gujurat, reportedly came together to encourage people over the age of 45 to get vaccinated. Women were given gold nasal needles for vaccination while men were given hand blenders, the Hindustan Times said.
India reported Friday that the country had given more than 500 million doses of vaccine.
However, so far only 8.2% of the population is fully vaccinated, as the figures from Our World in Data show.
According to local media reports, the country is threatened with a third wave of infections in the coming months.
China has been slow to start its vaccination program as the government was relatively successful in controlling the virus outbreak in the early days of the global pandemic. As a result, many citizens did not see the urgency of vaccination at first until new niches emerged in the country.
In March this year, a Beijing health center gave away 2.5 kilograms of eggs to residents who were 60 years of age or older when they received their first vaccination, the Associated Press reported.
However, some regions took a tougher approach.
Officials reportedly visited villages to persuade them to get vaccinated and were told it was their national duty, the Washington Post said.
The country had administered nearly 1.7 billion doses of vaccine as of August 3, the state media reported in Xinhua, citing the National Health Commission.
– CNBC’s Joanna Tan contributed to this coverage.