From burgers to airfare, discount offers stack up for inoculated Indians

Published June 23, 2021
A woman receives a dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for Covid-19 in Ahmedabad, India. — AP
A woman receives a dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for Covid-19 in Ahmedabad, India. — AP

Discounts on items ranging from fast food to flights are being offered by Indian firms keen to lure people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, as the economy re-opens gradually after weeks of lockdown.

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 per cent, the airline said on Wednesday.

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

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's 291 million administered doses are the most after China and the United States, but only about 5.5pc of its estimated adult population of 950m has received both doses necessary for full protection against the virus.

Vaccine flow is only expected to improve from August.

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