Young adults will be lured into vaccination centres with the promise of cut-price taxis and takeaways, as Boris Johnson tries to tackle the relatively low take-up among the under-30s.
Uber, Deliveroo and Pizza Pilgrims are among the companies in discussion with the Government about offering incentives as part of the ‘Jab 18-30’ drive.
So far, only two-thirds of people in that age bracket in England have received a first dose since they became eligible in June, compared with 88.4 per cent across all age groups, meaning more than three million 18-to-30-year-olds remain unjabbed.
A person receives a dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab at a vaccination centre for young people and students at the Hunter Street Health Centre in London on June 5
Uber (file photo above), Deliveroo and Pizza Pilgrims are among the companies in discussion with the Government about offering incentives as part of the ‘Jab 18-30’ drive
As part of the plan, Uber will be sending out reminders to its users throughout this month and, along with rival ride-hailing app Bolt, will be offering discounts for under-30s in both cars and food takeaway services.
Other companies will be offering vouchers or discount codes for food and films if users can prove through the NHS app that they have had the jab.
The Government’s jab push will also include a booster shot for all the priority group of the over-50s and clinically vulnerable.
Unlike the first two jabs, everyone will receive Pfizer – because it is the most effective against the Indian, or Delta, variant.
It comes as the week-on-week rate of Covid cases fell yesterday for the tenth day in a row with 26,144 infections marking a 17.8 per cent fall while deaths also fell to 71.
But yesterday, a SAGE expert warned the fall in Covid infections could be down to young people avoiding getting tested so they don’t have to self-isolate rather than a real drop off in cases.
Professor Robert West, a member of the behavioural advisory group Spi-B, said Government messaging may have inadvertently given people a ‘green light’ that Covid isn’t that bad and that people may be avoiding the disruption of self-isolation.
The health psychologist told Radio 4’s Today programme that young people may also be less motivated to get tested because their symptoms are not as severe.
His comments came amid mounting confusion over the rate of infection across the UK as there is a discrepancy between official figures and survey data from bodies including the Office of National Statistics.
Department of Health bosses posted 29,622 cases on Friday — down 18.6 per cent on last week.
But the ONS, which carries out tens of thousands of random swab tests every week, estimated one in 65 people were carrying the virus on any given day in the seven-day spell ending July 24 — the equivalent of 856,200 positive cases.
Experts have said the drop in official figures could be down to a multitude of factors – including fewer people coming forward to get tested because of the ‘pingdemic’ chaos and fears of having to self-isolate.
Other companies will be offering vouchers or discount codes for food and films if users can prove through the NHS app that they have had the jab (file photo)
Health Secretary Sajid Javid, pictured above, who thanked the businesses ‘stepping up to support this vaccine drive’
The latest data from Public Health England and Cambridge University suggests that about 60,000 deaths, 22 million infections and 52,600 hospitalisations have been prevented by vaccines.
Last night Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: ‘Thank you to all the businesses who are stepping up to support this vaccine drive.
‘Once available, please go out and take advantage of the discounts.’
A Deliveroo spokesman said: ‘We want to do our part. This is the next step in helping get people vaccinated and safely back to normal.’
Over the coming weeks, the Government is set to roll out ‘grab a jab’ pop-up vaccine sites across the country.
Over 600,000 people were vaccinated last weekend at walk-in clinics from London’s Tate Modern gallery to a Primark in Bristol.
Further sites in the pipeline include Thorpe Park in Surrey and Circus Extreme in Yorkshire.
Meanwhile, a poll by YouGov which was published last week suggests the use of face masks among young people has slumped since ‘freedom day’ on July 19.
The survey found 46 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds said they wore a face mask in a public place in the last two weeks, compared to 58 per cent on July 16 and 64 per cent on June 2.
Meanwhile, the survey of 1,742 British adults between July 21 and 22 found other age groups were still wearing face coverings at around the same rate.
YouGov also said young people were less likely to be fully vaccinated and more likely to have disabled their NHS Covid-19 app.
The researcher said that while last week 38 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds had been avoiding crowded places, this has now fallen to 26 per cent.