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‘Youth vaccine giveaway’: DC mayor dangles free Apple AirPods to encourage teen vaccinations

Teenagers were also promised a chance to win an iPad or even a $25,000 college scholarship, if they take their first jab before September 30. Parents or guardians, who bring their kids to one of the three designated vaccination sites set up inside DC schools, will be getting $51 gift cards – but only one per child.

Last month, a similar incentive program targeted the adult population, with smaller rewards ranging from free public transport tickets to grocery gift cards, and four new cars raffled off as the main prize.

Nearly 76% of DC adults received at least one dose as of last week, while over 65% were fully vaccinated, according to the district health department. However, among minors the number of fully-vaccinated stood at less than 30% for 16 to 17-year-olds, and 26.7% for kids aged 12-15.

Public schools across DC are set to fully reopen with in-person learning on August 30, but all students and staff will be required to wear a mask, regardless of their vaccination status.

One of America’s most stridently pro-mask politicians, Bowser, reintroduced the mandate for the vaccinated to wear face coverings indoors last month, even as the daily number of new cases stood relatively low, and the seven-day average number of Covid-19 deaths in Washington DC remains at or around zero.

Bowser’s initiative targeting children is just the latest in a slew of various incentives offered by local and state officials, as well as private businesses, to boost vaccination numbers. Over the past months, multiple states conducted lotteries with six-digit jackpots, smaller cash prizes, and gift cards for the losers. Some of the more bizarre offers included free burgers and donuts, a dinner with a governor or a selfie with a whale, as well as VIP treatment at a Vegas strip club, free guns, and even joints for jabs.

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