Despite the availability of not one, but three Russian COVID-19 vaccines, people are still not fully onboard with the idea. In late April 2021, the number of vaccinated in Russia stood at four percent. Two months ago, the number increased to 13 percent, but this still falls short of the government’s target of 60 percent by the fall of this year and the plan to develop collective immunity.
“It’s obvious we won’t make 60 percent. We’re seeing only this week a slow rise in the number of those willing to get vaccinated,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told journalists on June 29. He sees the increase as having to do with two new measures: the new restrictions put in place in light of the third wave of COVID-19 (including setting up QR code IDs for those who wish to eat out) and an unprecedented campaign of rewards for those who decide to get the jab.
Prize-winning cars for the winners.Moskva agency
In the early days of mobile COVID-19 vaccination stations (the first one opened at Moscow’s GUM shopping mall), the bonus you got for getting your shot was a free ice cream cone. We’ve come a long way since those days. At first, Moscow’s government offered anyone over 60 a promo code for 1,000 rubles in pharmacies. Now, you can get a brand new Renault car! The lottery is only for over-18s and those who have taken their first shot of the vaccine between June 14 -July 11.
“There are 20 cars being put up, each costing around a million rubles (approx. $13,400). There will be a weekly draw of five cars,” the Moscow mayor’s website states, adding that there are over 100 vaccination spots across the city.
While the capital is giving away cars, Moscow’s periphery is offering new apartments. The winning lot was a 75 sq. meter three-bedroom one. Now, the race is on to win a fully furnished one-bedroom apartment on the 24th floor. All you need to do is click the ad banner on the regional government website and register. In order to complete the application, you’ll need to have taken at least one component of the ‘Sputnik V’, ‘EpiVacCorona’ or ‘CoviVac’ vaccines.
Russian companies have followed suit with their own raffles to try and motivate their service, sales and other staff to collectively reach 60 percent of vaccinated across Russia. The Moscow-based ‘OrangeFitness’ gym chain is offering an Apple Watch to its staff. The ‘Azbuka Vkusa’ grocery chain is offering a paid day off on the day its staff choose to receive the shot, while the ‘Delimobil’ car sharing service will cover 70 percent of the trip to their staff’s chosen vaccination center.
Car manufacturer ‘AvtoVAZ’ promised staff 1,500 rubles (approx. $20) in exchange for getting vaccinated. The company employs 35,000 people. Those who’ve already taken the shots are also eligible for compensation.
The state-sponsored media holding Russia Today (RT) paid out 57,500 rubles (approx. $770) to staff willing to take the shot before July 10. Those who have already had the virus and have retained a certain level of antibodies are also eligible to receive compensation, even if the vaccination has been scheduled for a later date. “I’d like to note that all payments are being made from commercially earned profits,” wrote Margarita Simonyan, the channel’s Editor-in-Chief.
Many regions have their own campaigns, as well. On the Yamal Peninsula, you can win iPhones, bicycles, speakers, headphones and smart watches; while in Togliatti, the top prize is 75,000 rubles (approx. $1,000).
In Tula Region, factory workers get a day off and coupons for free meals at the factory cafeteria. Those who’ve already taken the vaccine can also visit concerts, shows, exhibitions and football matches free of charge.
Magadan Region citizens over 60 are being offered 1,000 rubles (approx. $13), while pensioners in Chukotka get twice that; Khabarovsk Region pensioners, on the other hand, get a carton of eggs for each of the two shots.
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