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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - NEW DELHI — As one of the biggest vaccination drives in the world gets underway in India, airlines here are offering discounts on flight tickets exclusively for passengers who have been immunized against COVID-19.
India has so far vaccinated 300 million people in the 160 days since vaccinations began in a phased manner. After the government universalized the availability of vaccines from June 21, slightly in excess of 5.4 million adults have been vaccinated over a four-day period, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare here.
As an incentive to get more residents to take the vaccines, India’s biggest private airline, Indigo, announced: "Customers who have been administered either one or both the anti-COVID-19 vaccine doses can avail of a discount of up to 10 percent on the base fare while booking."
The incentive will be keenly watched in the Gulf where the number of vaccinated passengers taking flights to India is presumed to be high and can use the discount on domestic connections after landing at India’s international airports. The announcement also coincides with the resumption of air services to India by several airlines in the GCC countries.
Incentives to overcome vaccine hesitancy are becoming popular all over the world and India appears to be taking the cue from this global trend. What makes the difference in India, however, is the sheer scale of the vaccination drive in the second-most populous country in the world.
Two months ago, Hong Kong’s real estate tycoons offered a lottery prize of an apartment costing US$ 1.4 million to help the local government’s vaccination drive. Earlier this month California Governor Gavin Newsom gave away $ 1.5 million each to 10 vaccinated persons who won the sweepstakes created as an incentive to immunize against the pandemic.
In India banks are offering higher interest on fixed deposits for vaccinated persons, manufacturers are extending warranties on their products for the vaccinated and fast food chains are giving discounts up to 20 percent in the fight against the pandemic. — WAM
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