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COVID-19 Vaccination India | Corporates offering loyalty programmes, discounted airfare, meals and more to dispel vaccine hesitancy

The Indian arm of fast-food giant McDonald's is offering a 20 percent discount on meals, SoftBank-backed grocer Grofers is offering a month's subscription to its loyalty program, and home appliances maker Godrej has extended product warranties to vaccinated persons.

June 23, 2021 / 08:52 PM IST
(Representative image: Reuters)

(Representative image: Reuters)

Discounts on items ranging from fast food to flights are being offered by several companies in India to incentivise vaccination against the novel coronavirus at a time the economy is re-opening gradually from weeks of lockdown owing to the COVID-19 case surge during the second wave of the pandemic.

While businesses in the West make similar offers to dispel vaccine hesitancy, India is badly short of doses for its population of nearly 1.4 billion, and the incentives could serve mainly to attract more customers.

"We feel it is our responsibility to contribute to the national vaccination drive by encouraging more people," Sanjay Kumar, a senior official of Interglobe Aviation, which runs India's biggest airline, IndiGo, said in a statement.

Vaccinated customers, even those who have received just one dose, would get a discount of up to 10 percent, the airline said on June 23.

The Indian arm of fast-food giant McDonald's is offering a 20 percent discount on meals, SoftBank-backed grocer Grofers is offering a month's subscription to its loyalty program, and home appliances maker Godrej has extended product warranties to vaccinated persons.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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State-run Central Bank of India Ltd is offering higher interest on deposits from recipients of at least one dose.

To claim the discounts, people must show their vaccination certificates issued by the government.

India has administered 291 million COVID-19 vaccine doses -- the most after China and the United States. However, only about 5.5 percent of the estimated adult population of 950 million has received both doses necessary to offer full protection against the virus.

Follow our coverage of the coronavirus crisis here
Reuters
first published: Jun 23, 2021 08:52 pm

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