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Discounts for vaccinated people aim to encourage more to get COVID-19 jabs, are not discriminatory: Firms

Discounts for vaccinated people aim to encourage more to get COVID-19 jabs, are not discriminatory: Firms

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Singapore on Apr 21, 2021. (Photo: Marcus Mark Ramos)

SINGAPORE: Businesses in Singapore that have rolled out discounts for customers who are vaccinated against COVID-19 said the perks aim to encourage more people to get jabbed and are not discriminatory.

Retailers and food and beverage outlets are among the businesses offering discounts, vouchers and freebies to those who show they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Companies CNA spoke to said these perks were meant as “additional encouragement” to reward those who have been partially or fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

“Some customers that are aware of this are pretty supportive of us onboarding to this campaign as they have the same beliefs as us, believing that everyone should get vaccinated to protect their loved ones and themselves,” said creative director of LBR Label Regina Pek. 

READ: COVID-19 restrictions to be reviewed in early August, any easing only for vaccinated people: Lawrence Wong

LBR Label, an online shop, is offering a 10 per cent discount for customers who have been vaccinated. Those jabbed can receive a promo code from the iamvaccinated.sg website. 

The website, run by healthcare provider Minmed Group, aggregates deals and offers from companies targeted at those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19. The group also runs four vaccination centres in Singapore. 

The site has been up since February, when Minmed started setting up its vaccination centres. At that time, there was “a lot of talk” about the vaccines’ side effects and “apprehension” about receiving the vaccine, said Minmed’s executive director Sharmaine Chng. 

Minmed's website https://iamvaccinated.sg/ showing the discounts. (Screengrab: iamvaccinated.sg)

“We really felt that the vaccination is an important part to win the war against COVID-19. So that’s why we wanted to do something that’s a bit more fun and … take away the negative perspective or the heavy discussion on side effects,” she said.

“Instead of focusing on the effects after the vaccination, maybe we can focus on, 'after I get my vaccination I can actually enjoy some perks because I’m vaccinated so I can redeem certain deals from certain merchants',” said Ms Chng. 

The other reason for aggregating the perks and discounts available to vaccinated people was to boost business for F&B outlets and retailers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the merchants on the site are local businesses, she noted. 

As of Jul 28, more than 3.2 million people in Singapore have completed the full vaccination regimen, according to the Ministry of Health. 

DISCOUNTS TO ENCOURAGE MORE TO GET JABBED

Part-time cleaning service Helpling also launched a S$35 voucher on the website for fully vaccinated customers. They have seen 23 redemptions so far, said the company’s head of operations Zhong Jingjing. 

“We think most people are unaware of this, therefore not many people have taken up the deal. We wanted to support the vaccination effort. Also, we understand quite some people have side effects, so we would like to offer some help," she told CNA.

READ: More COVID-19 cases who are vaccinated may not need to be hospitalised as Singapore adjusts healthcare protocols

Car sharing service BlueSG launched a S$5 voucher for members who can prove they have received their first dose or are fully vaccinated. 

The initiative was rolled out after the Government announced that people aged under 40 were eligible to register for vaccination, which is the age group of the majority of its members, said Ms Jenny Lim, the company’s commercial and network director. 

“We wanted to do our part to spread awareness and increase the community uptake of the vaccine among our members to create a safer car-sharing community. Hence, we reward individuals even if they have only received one dose,” she said. 

BlueSG's discount for people vaccinated against COVID-19. (Screengrab: BlueSG)

More than 1,000 members have submitted their proof of vaccination so far, and the company has received “a lot of positive feedback” from its customers, added Ms Lim. 

Coffee chain Flash Coffee wanted to “offer a small incentive” to thank those who are “doing their part” by getting vaccinated, said a spokesperson for the brand. 

Customers are entitled to a free cup of coffee when they show their vaccination records at any of its outlets. To date, it has given out more than 3,000 free drinks, said the spokesperson. 

“As the vaccination uptake goes up in Singapore, we are anticipating a similar demand for our promotion in the weeks to come,” the spokesperson added. 

READ: Return to Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) does not change roadmap of treating COVID-19 as endemic: Ong Ye Kung

At restaurant group Peach Garden, customers can get S$5.60 off their total bill for each fully vaccinated diner. 

“We came up with the vaccination promotion to encourage more Singapore residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible. By getting their vaccinations, they are not only protecting themselves but protecting the people around them as well, making Singapore a safer place,” said general manager Darren Yew. 

Since the deal was launched earlier this month, the restaurant group has seen “a couple” of redemptions per day, said Mr Yew. 

“Customers are happy to be rewarded for getting their vaccinations. They feel that it is good that we are doing this to give back to the community,” he said.

ARE VACCINATION PERKS DISCRIMINATORY?

On Monday, co-chair of the multi-ministry task force Lawrence Wong said it will review some COVID-19 restrictions early next month, but any easing of measures will be only for vaccinated people who are “much better protected” against the virus.

When asked if these offers for vaccinated customers could be perceived as discriminatory, some companies were quick to stress that they were meant as tokens of appreciation or support for the vaccination roll-out.

The offers are not discriminatory and non-vaccinated customers can still buy their products or engage their services, they added. 

“We don’t view this offer as discriminatory. We liken it more to other marketing efforts that are rolled out periodically for different customer segments,” said Ms Lim of BlueSG. 

“Regardless of vaccination status, our members will still be able to use our service. More importantly, this reward doesn’t require our members having to buy something or make extra rentals to qualify.” 

READ: 'Practically all' social, workplace COVID-19 restrictions could be lifted in 'truly endemic state': Gan Kim Yong

Helpling's Ms Zhong said it is meant to support the Government's vaccination initiatives and that customers who are unvaccinated can still book its services.

Customers who fill out the health declaration form and are well can still book the platform’s services, and new customers can still get a S$20 discount, she added.

The offers are not discriminatory because everyone has their own rights and beliefs, said LBR Label’s Ms Pek. 

“This is just a way we wish to show support to those who are vaccinated like a small token that they went (through) a hurdle, like a small reward after the whole process to pamper themselves," she added.

Peach Garden group's Mr Yew said the promotions are meant to encourage and reward as many eligible individuals as possible to complete their COVID-19 vaccination. 

“When more eligible individuals are vaccinated, it in turn protects those who are unable to be vaccinated as well. Regardless of the vaccination status of an individual, we welcome him or her at our restaurants all the same," he said.

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Source: CNA/hw

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