When India started its COVID-19 vaccination drive in January, not many would have imagined that a jab could not just protect them against the deadly disease but also get them a discount on their favourite food, ensure extra savings on groceries and even a higher rate of interest on bank deposits. Private companies are offering a number of incentives to their customers to win over those who are hesitant to take the vaccine and help speed up the pace of inoculation in the country reeling from a devastating second wave of the pandemic.
So far, COVID-19 has claimed 3,88,135 lives in the country.
Experts have warned that the third wave of the pandemic could hit the country within months if a sizeable number of people is not vaccinated fast and Covid-appropriate behaviour not followed.
McDonald's India (North and East) has launched the 'We Care' initiative on its mobile application that allows vaccinated customers to access special deals like a 20 per cent discount on a minimum order of Rs 500.
To avail the benefits, customers need to upload their vaccination certificates under the 'Got Vaccinated' tab on the app. After this, they receive an offer code that can be redeemed while placing an order. The offers can be availed on delivery, take away as well as dine-in.
"Vaccination is an important step in our country's fight against the pandemic, one that requires all of us to work together and do our part, including encouraging others to get vaccinated," said Rajeev Ranjan, COO, Connaught Plaza Restaurants, which operates McDonald's restaurants in North and East India.
"As a brand with a deep connect with people, we are glad to contribute towards the greater cause in our unique way," he said.
Several other restaurants across Delhi and Gurugram are also offering similar offers to encourage their customers to get vaccinated.
While such offers may seem aimed at increasing business for brands, companies hope they will be able to entice fence-sitters through them.
Grofers, an online grocery store, has collaborated with the UNICEF to promote COVID-19 vaccination "in public interest".
"Outside of using the strength of our platform to promote the message, as an additional incentive, we are offering all the consumers who have been vaccinated a one month's free subscription of Grofers SBC (Smart Bachat Club)," a company spokesperson said.
Grofers SBC is a premium loyalty program through which consumers can access extra savings and additional benefits including lower prices, priority delivery slots and early access to sales.
"Once you get vaccinated, all you need to do is log onto the app and upload the certificate.
Once the certificate is uploaded, we will activate the membership on your number for one month," the spokesperson said.
Last month, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) had said the pandemic has shown that in the interdependent world, "no one is safe until everyone is safe".
DTH service provider Dish TV is offering free "one day worth of entertainment" to its customers after they upload the details of their vaccination on the company website.
The brand is also offering free subscription for a month to hospitals and nursing homes treating Covid patients.
"The second wave of COVID-19 has hit the nation hard and impacted all of us in some way or the other. It is important to maintain our vigil by following the crucial COVID-19 safety protocols and government guidelines and encouraging people to adhere to the same," Anil Dua, Executive Director & Group CEO, Dish TV India Limited.
"One big way to fight the battle successfully is to get vaccinated. We are encouraging our subscribers to get themselves vaccinated by offering them an extra day of entertainment. We are also expressing our gratitude to the frontline Covid Warriors by providing one month of free entertainment to all the hospitals," he said.
Even financial institutions like the Central Bank of India are doing their bit to turn a page on the pandemic.
Last month, the bank launched a term deposit scheme, "Immune India Deposit Scheme", for those who have taken at least one dose of the Covid vaccine.
The scheme has a fixed period of 1,111 days and offers beneficiaries an interest rate of 5.35 per cent as against the original of 5.1 per cent.
"Any existing customer who has been administered at least one jab of COVID-19 vaccine and is able to provide any proof of it will be eligible to deposit in the scheme," a document on the bank's website stated.
The scheme is only available till December 31, it said.
As of Saturday, a total of 27,62,55,304 vaccine doses had been administered in India, according to the Union health ministry.