Various institutions in the Eastern Finland region of Kainuu have begun offering gift vouchers in a bid to encourage more residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine. According to a report by Helsingin-Sanomat, the vouchers include a chance for free pizza, coffee or gasoline.
The cooperative bank Kuhmon Osuuspankki is awarding locals in the Kuhmo municipality a voucher worth 20 euros, which can be used to purchase items such as pizza or fuel, when they get the first dose of the vaccine.
The bank’s CEO Martti Pulkkinen told Helsingin-Sanomat that the primary aim of the initiative is to motivate residents of Kuhmo—which has a vaccination rate of less than 70 percent for adults under the age of 40—to get the first jab. There have been 1,000 doses set aside for the campaign, and there is a vaccination point located next to the bank.
Organisations in Kajaani, the capital of the Kainuu region, are also chipping in. According to regional health authorities, the town will host a corporate event featuring a pop-up vaccination point on Friday.
Kajaanin Yrittäjät, the local branch of Suomen Yrittäjät (the Federation of Finnish Enterprises) and Kajaanin Kauppiasyhdistys (The Kajaani traders association) will provide café gift vouchers to all those who get vaccinated at the event.
Vaccine hesitancy is particularly high among the young male population of Kainuu, and local authorities hope that the new initiatives will drive more young people to get the jab.