Tempting Incentives to Get the Covid-19 Vaccine

When Covid-19 vaccines began to roll out last year, it seemed to many people like we would never have enough to go around. Now, though, with almost 62.8% of American adults having received at least one dose of the shot, and 133.6 million fully vaccinated, the problem is no longer a shortage of supply, but a shortage of people taking the remaining doses. In order to help meet President Biden’s goal of having at least 70% of U.S. adults vaccinated by July 4, state politicians, restaurants, health insurance companies, and more are giving away freebies and other incentives to entice people to get the shot. Some of these incentives are very tempting reasons to get vaccinated, including a chance to get free gift cards, food, scholarships, alcohol, and even free money! 

Yummy Foodone glazed donut

In March 2021, Krispy Kreme set off the wave of vaccine incentives in the food industry by announcing they would offer a free glazed donut to vaccinated customers every day for the entirety of 2021!! Other companies with delicious treats followed suit:

  • Shake Shack– Anyone who gets their shot specifically at a mobile vaccination site in NYC will get a voucher for a Shake Shack burger, and as of June 12, anyone who shows their vaccination card at one of their locations will get free crinkle fries with a burger or chicken sandwich order.
  • Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs is giving away a free hot dog at its Coney Island location in NY to customers on the day of their vaccination.
  • Ledo Pizza in Annapolis, Maryland is offering one free 8-inch cheese pizza through June 30 to people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
  • Jose Andres Restaurants are giving $50 gift cards to restaurant patrons in Washington D.C. who show proof of vaccination. 

Free Alcohol!

Want some free drinks? Well, here’s what’s on offer if you’re vaccinated:

big glass of beer

  • Anheuser-Busch– on June 2, this major brewery announced that they will buy a round of beer for Americans 21 and older once the country has reached the 70% goal. 
  • The Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce is running a “Shots for Shots” promotion: anyone who gets the vaccine at the walk-up site on 17th Street and Convention Center will be given a coupon for a free drink. 
  • The Louisiana Restaurant Association is also sponsoring a “Shots for Shots” promotion in the state that began at the beginning of June. The association plans to partially reimburse free drinks offered by bars and restaurants to fully vaccinated patrons. 
  • The Governor Of Illinois will allow businesses that sell alcohol to offer customers a free drink if they provide proof of vaccination. 

Free Weedtwo marijuana joints and buds

Washington State has announced their “Joints for Jabs” promotion, which will allow fully vaccinated people who are 21 or older to claim free marijuana joints or bags of marijuana. The promotion is taking place in several cities, as well as in other states across America, and will end July 12. 

Free Money

Vaccinated individuals who are 18 and older can also enter a lottery for cash prizes in the following states:

  • New York–  The “Vax and Scratch” promotion is offering free lottery scratch-off tickets with a grand prize of $5 million.
  • California- The “Vax for the Win” promotion will announce 10 winners of $1.5 million cash prizes each.
  • Ohio– This state is offering a $1 million jackpot to 5 vaccinated adults.
  • Maryland– This state is offering $2 million in lottery cash prizes ending July 3.
  • Kentucky– Vaccinated adults will get a free Cash Ball 225 ticket, which has a cash prize of $225,000.
  • Oregon- Adults can win a grand prize of $1 million or one of 36 $10,000 prizes. Vaccinated adults will only be eligible if they receive the shot by midnight on June 27. 
  • New Mexico- Those who have had at least 1 shot will be entered in weekly drawings to take home $250,000; those who are fully vaccinated could win the grand prize of $5 million dollars.
  • West Virginia– Officials are offering $100 savings bonds to all 16-35 year olds who get the vaccine.
  • Colorado- The “Colorado Comeback Cash” program will choose one vaccinated resident a week to win a $1 million jackpot.
  • Washington- This state’s lottery includes 4 weekly drawings for a $250,000 cash prize and one final drawing of $1 million.

Free Tickets

the yankee stadium with a game taking place
The Yankees and other MLB teams are giving away tickets to those who get vaccinated in their stadiums.

Now that things are finally opening back up, and people can go outside and enjoy life again, some amusement parks and sports teams are offering freebies and other incentives to those who get vaccinated. For example:

  • In Illinois, Six Flags Great America is donating 50,000 tickets for entrance to two of its amusement parks for people who are vaccinated.
  • Major League Baseball teams Yankees and Mets are offering vaccinations at their stadiums and a free ticket voucher for a 2021 or 2022 regular home game through June. 
  • The NFL have announced they will be giving away 50 tickets to Super Bowl LVI to vaccinated people who share why it’s important to get vaccinated.


Some states are trying get more young people on board with vaccination by offering a chance to win a free education: 

  • Ohio is offering 5 full-ride scholarships to any in-state college or university for residents between the ages of 12-17 who get the vaccine as part of the state’s lottery.
  • New York is including a full-ride scholarship to one of the state’s public universities for 12-17 year-olds who’ve gotten their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine as part of their state lottery. 
  • Delaware is including a full-ride scholarship to a public, in-state university to residents between the ages of 12-17 who receive a vaccine in their raffle. 

Employer Incentives

blue card with the words "gift card" on it
Some employers are offering gift cards, money, and paid time off to employees who get vaccinated.

In an attempt to get employees vaccinated, some companies are offering their employees extra forms of compensation. Employees who work in the following stores, and have received the vaccine, can expect the following incentives:

  • Grocery chain Aldi is offering up to 4 hours of paid time off for hourly workers
  • Dollar General is offering a stipend worth 4 work hours
  • Publix is handing out $125 gift cards
  • Apple and AT&T are offering paid time off
  • Kroger employees will be entered in a weekly sweepstakes to win $1 million, and 50 employees will get free groceries for a year.
  • Wawa is giving employees $300 

Other Freebies

  • Health insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield will put $50 on eligible members’ MyBlue Wellness Card after getting vaccinated. Members can use the money to purchase qualified medical expenses. 
  • The White House has partnered with Uber and Lyft to provide free transportation to vaccination sites and back.
  • NYC will give a free 7-day unlimited MetroCard, or 2 one-way commuter rail tickets, to people who get vaccinated at pop-up stops inside a subway or rail station.
  • For those who need someone to watch their children while they get vaccinated, KinderCare, Learning Care Group, and YMCA locations are offering free drop-in appointments.
  • Maine is giving away 5,000 fishing licenses and 5,000 hunting licenses for people 18 and older who are vaccinated. 
  • Places like the  NYC Aquarium, NY Botanic Garden, Bronx Zoo, Lincoln Center, and more in New York are offering free and discounted tickets to those who get vaccinated.

About The Author:
Cassandra Love

With over a decade of helpful content experience Cassandra has dedicated her career to making sure people have access to relevant, easy to understand, and valuable information. After realizing a huge knowledge gap Cassandra spent years researching and working with health insurance companies to create accessible guides and articles to walk anyone through every aspect of the insurance process.

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