Free marijuana offered to Americans in drive to increase COVID vaccinations

Guns, beer and marijuana are among incentives being offered to Americans to encourage coronavirus vaccinations. A total of 302,851,917 doses have been administered in the US, with 139,748,661 people -

Free marijuana offered to Americans in drive to increase COVID vaccinations

Guns, beer and marijuana are among incentives being offered to Americans to encourage coronavirus vaccinations.

A total of 302,851,917 doses have been administered in the US, with 139,748,661 people - or 42.1% of the population - fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

A mixture of public and private sector motivations are being put forward, as President Joe Biden continues the coronavirus vaccination of the country.

Americans have been offered a variety of incentives to get a COVID vaccine including free guns, holidays, cash and Krispy Kremes.

The most recent addition to the odd list of incentives has been in Washington state where licensed marijuana shops are now able to offer free joints.

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Announced by state officials, the "Joints for Jabs" scheme allows pot retailers to hand out a single pre-rolled joint to over-21s who get a jab at an on-site vaccine clinic by 12 July.

A number of people across the country have already won cash prizes or college scholarships as part of other incentive programmes.

California held the first in a series of drawings for $16.5m (£11.7m) in prize money aimed at encouraging people to get their jabs ahead of 15 June, when the state plans to lift almost all virus-related restrictions.

In Colorado, where around half of the state's population have received a first vaccine dose, Sally Sliger from Mead won the first of five $1m (£707,000) prizes for vaccinated residents.

President Joe Biden still has his sights set on 4 July as an "independence day" from the virus, aiming for 70% of adults having at least one dose by then.

So far, around 63% of the US adult population has had at least one vaccine shot.

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Mr Biden has announced a range of new measures to try and keep getting doses into arms, designating June a "month of action".

A spokesperson for the White House COVID-19 response team said: "We're looking at June as a critical month in our path to normal and as a critical month in order to continue the progress we're making in our vaccination campaign."

For example, the White House will partner with childcare groups to help parents who need assistance while they get a jab or if they suffer side effects.

And from the private sector, brewery Anheuser-Busch announced a promotion to "buy Americans 21+ a round of beer" once the 70% target is met, although there were terms and conditions attached.

Meanwhile, Sky News affiliate NBC News reported that in West Virginia shotguns and hunting rifles are being offered to people who have had a jab.

Hunting and fishing are popular in the state, although there has been criticism from those in favour of gun control about the offers.

The average number of jabs a day is now down to fewer than 600,000 - compared to a daily peak of two million in early April.

Unlike many nations, the US has a surplus of doses and will be sharing around 80 million vaccines with other nations this month.

Mr Biden is also deploying members of his administration - including vice president Kamala Harris and first gentleman Doug Emhoff - around the country to help the drive.

Political apparatus including phone banks, texting lists, and door knocking are also being utilised to get people out to get a jab.

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Competitions are being organised between cities and universities to see who can get the most vaccines administered.

Companies like online food delivery service DoorDash and pharmacy giants CVS are also incentivising, with gift cards and sweepstakes for cruises and Super Bowl tickets on offer.

Supermarket chain Kroger said it will give away $1m to a vaccinated customer each week this month.