A version of this story appeared in the May 21 edition of CNN’s Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction newsletter. Sign up here to receive the need-to-know headlines every weekday.
Doughnuts, dollars or dating app perks? Krispy Kreme is offering free treats to people who are vaccinated against Covid-19, several US states have launched lotteries with cash prizes for those who get the shot, and proof of vaccination can get you added extras on some dating apps.
In a bid to boost flagging inoculation rates, Ohio, New York and Maryland are all giving away millions of dollars through special lotteries, just the latest in efforts by governments, employers, sports teams and others to motivate more people to get the shot as vaccination rates slow.
The White House is trying yet another way. It announced today it is partnering with a series of prominent dating apps to offer incentives to customers who’ve been inoculated.
Vaccinated users on Tinder, Hinge, OKCupid, BLK, Chispa, Plenty of Fish, Bumble and Badoo will gain access to premium content “like boosts, super likes, and super swipes” with proof of vaccination, according to the White House. Users will also be able to filter potential matches by vaccination status or book vaccination appointments through the apps.
The announcements sparked both reams of praise and howls of outrage on social media. The idea that some Americans might need cash incentives to get a potentially life-saving vaccine would likely be mind-boggling to the millions of vulnerable people and health-care workers in the developing world who still don’t have access to the vaccine.
It’s not just the world’s poorest countries that are struggling to offer the inoculation to everyone who wants it. In the United Kingdom, people under the age of 34 are still not eligible for the shot. Australia is currently vaccinating people over the age of 50. France and Germany are only planning to open their programs to all adults in the coming weeks. Japan hasn’t even started vaccinating the general public yet.
But while younger people in many rich countries must still wait their turn, at least their governments have guaranteed they will receive the vaccine eventually.
In the developing world, that’s not the case. COVAX, the vaccine-sharing initiative, is only expected to reach 27% of the populations of lower-income countries this year. The rest will have to wait until next year, at least.
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED.
Q: Are more Covid-19 vaccines being developed?
A: No, experts say the cases actually show the vaccine is working, and that testing remains a useful tool.
“It’s preventing serious infections in those staff and players with the Yankees,” Dr. Costi Sifri, an infectious disease physician and hospital epidemiologist at the University of Virginia, told CNN.
“Those infections that occurred, the so-called breakthrough infections, importantly were for the most part mild to moderate infections,” he said.
None of the nine people ended up severely ill or in need of hospitalization. However, finding so many breakthrough cases in one spot does say something about the importance of testing.
In the general population, breakthrough Covid-19 infections are rare. As of April 26, 9,245 breakthrough cases were identified in the US out of some 95 million fully vaccin