Young Londoners getting their first vaccine jabs this week will be entered in a draw to win tickets for the Euro 2020 football final, the city’s mayor announced Tuesday.
The incentive comes as the vaccine roll-out is now targeting those aged 18 and over, and England are in the last four and on the verge of their first major championship final — and trophy — since 1966.
The final will be played at London’s Wembley Stadium on Sunday.
Unlike some other countries, Britain has not had to offer anything to encourage take-up of Covid vaccines.
But the government is in a race against time to jab as many people as possible to slow the rapid spread of the Delta variant, as the economy reopens.
The offer is “an incentive to younger Londoners to receive the jab”, London Mayor Sadiq Khan told AFP in an interview.
Londoners who come to walk-in vaccination centres or make appointments for a first jab could win a pair of tickets to the Euro final or 50 more tickets for an “exclusive viewing” on Trafalgar Square, he said.
Khan promised the Euro 2020 final will be the “safest ever” to limit the spread of the virus.
The crowd of 60,000 fans — or 75 percent of Wembley’s capacity – will have to show evidence they are fully vaccinated or have a negative lateral flow test.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. We’re hoping that as many Londoners as possible use the incentive of winning these tickets to get the jab,” Khan said.
More than half of adult Londoners have already had both jabs, he added.
“We’re hoping by July 19th, two-thirds of adults will have had both doses.”
The UK has administered nearly 34 million second doses so far, outstripping EU countries, but its death toll of more than 128,000 is the highest in Europe.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday confirmed he still plans to lift most restrictions, including compulsory wearing of masks, from July 19.
Khan said that London authorities were “a bit concerned an end to the obligation to wear a face mask, for example, in public transport” and were speaking to the government about this.
He tweeted Monday that passengers’ wearing masks gave Londoners confidence to use public transport, “which is vital to our economic recovery”.