Will discounts for young people solve the low-vaccine uptake?

The UK government has announced that young people can now get Deliveroo discounts if they get their Covid-19 vaccine.

Businesses including Deliveroo, Uber, Bolt and Pizza Pilgrims are offering discounted rides and meals to young people, if they get vaccinated this August.


Deliveroo CEO Will Shu has stated Deliveroo will “do our bit” as “it’s vital that people have the information they need to keep themselves and their loved ones safe”.

This move comes as a result of the government’s plan (which was dropped) to make vaccines a prerequisite and a condition of returning to university campuses.

These discounts are the latest attempt to address the ever-growing concerns about the low-takeup among young people.

Data from The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said around 67% of people between the ages of 18 to 29 in England have received their first dose since they became eligible in June. The DHSC is hoping to boost these figures with offers of vouchers and discounts for those that get the jab.

Additionally, more than three million 18 to 30 year-olds are yet to have a vaccination according to data presented by the DHSC. Boris Johnson allegedly commented that he was ‘raging’ about these new figures.

However, there’s been a growing annoyance among young people that these discounts are only available to those that have not had a single shot of the vaccine. Meaning, those that have already had the first dose or indeed even the second will not be eligible for these discounts.


Additionally, these discounts are sending mixed messages. Recently, the government has been pushing and proposing campaigns for healthier lifestyles.

The government has been repetitively issuing the correlation between obesity, poor diet and serious side effects of Covid, with plans to make an app to monitor people’s fitness and dietary consumption.

However, now the government are pushing takeaways and unhealthy eating as an incentive.

Furthermore, there also seems to be complete hyper-focus on young people. I personally don’t know anyone my age or near about my age that hasn’t got the first dose. Even if they have got the first dose, I don’t know anyone my age that will be refusing the second dose either.

There does seem to be a complete hyper-sensitive focus on young people. For example, take during the multiple lockdowns, all that was ever talked about whether it be on the news or with neighbours or even with strangers, COVID was spreading ‘because of young people’.

Ultimately, this hyper-focus on young people combined with this scheme of promoting unhealthy eating, makes the government appear in a rather desperate light.

Essentially, the government is using the vaccination as a marketing scheme and frankly it’s irresponsible to use the pandemic to promote services, as it’s ultimately a way to make money.

Regardless of what stage you’re at with your vaccinations, or whether you’ve chosen not to have the vaccinations for personal reasons, I don’t think it’s right for the government to introduce a conflicting and controversial marketing campaign.

It goes without saying that the best situation would be if as many people would be vaccinated as possible, but the way the government has gone about this, is I think, the wrong way. I think there are better, and more sensible, pragmatic ways of solving the low-uptake rather than a contradicting and ultimately conflicting marketing scheme.

Finally, Tim Bale, a professor of politics at London’s Queen Mary University said:

“Young people have a right to expect a whole lot more in the long term than a handful of vouchers for rides and pizza…Gimmicks are great and the Government should get some credit for thinking outside the box…But what young people really need – and deserve – from the Government is a far-sighted and properly funded post-Covid recovery plan.”