The Scottish Government is “looking carefully” at a possible incentive scheme to encourage people to take the Covid vaccine.
Earlier this month the UK Government announced partnerships with the likes of Uber and Deliveroo to offer discounts to people getting the jab.
It also said vouchers or money-off codes could be handed out at vaccine sites in the future.
Incentive schemes are in place in many other countries – with some offering lotteries for luxury homes and cars, and others turning to sacks of rice, hunting rifles and even live chickens.
Does Scotland need a Covid vaccine incentive scheme?
Overall, 90% of Scotland’s adult population has received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, and 75% have had both.
But there are concerns about uptake in the 18-to-29 age group.
While everyone in that demographic has been offered at least one dose, the latest stats show just three-quarters have taken it up so far.
Many are still awaiting appointments for their second dose, with less than 30% having received it so far.
Last week First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said uptake in the age group “has been good, relative to our initial expectations, but we want it to be better”.
Fears have also been raised around the number of unvaccinated pregnant women being admitted to hospital with Covid-19.
What incentives are there?
In New York City, everyone who receives their first dose from a public vaccination clinic is eligible to claim a $100 (£72) pre-paid debit card, or free tickets for the likes of NYC Football Club or the Statue of Liberty.
Other states have set up lotteries with cash prizes and college scholarships up for grabs – with West Virginia even offering lifetime fishing passes and hunting rifles to winners.
Popular brand Krispy Kreme also offered free doughnuts to everyone showing proof of vaccination at all of its US outlets.
Covid vaccine incentives are much rarer in Europe, however, with the likes of the Netherlands and Romania offering street food to participants.
And in Australia, a proposal to offer $300 (£160) handouts was described by Prime Minister Scott Morrison as “an insult to every Australian, the 80% of older Australians who have turned up and rolled up their sleeves”.
Jabs will ‘support return to normal life’
Douglas Lumsden, Scottish Conservative MSP for the North East, said: “We’ve seen the uptake slow down in the 18-29 demographic, but the hope is hesitancy is reducing.
“That could be down to the growing realisation that jabs will protect individuals and their loved ones, and support a return to normal life.
“But if anything can be done to encourage Scots to turn up at vaccine centres, we should examine that.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The vaccination programme has been one of the fastest in the world with 90% of the adult population having received their first dose – far beyond our planning assumption of 80% – and so far 75% have received their second dose.
“We are always keen to explore ways to increase the vaccination rate and are looking carefully at appropriate incentives schemes to achieve this aim.”