Young people will be offered free taxi rides, pizzas and trips to the cinema if they agree to have a coronavirus vaccine as the Government tries to boost uptake.
Ministers are in talks with dozens of companies, including coffee and cinema chains, about a voucher scheme to be launched later this month, in time for the new academic year.
The Government is desperate to increase the numbers of young adults who have been jabbed. Just 67 per cent of adults under 29 years old have had their first dose.
Cabinet ministers have privately told The Telegraph that if this proportion can be increased to more than 80 per cent, it could head off the need for vaccine passports for venues such as nightclubs.
Number 10 has also ruled out requiring vaccine passports for students to return to university, The Telegraph understands.
So far, Uber has agreed to offer free rides, while Deliveroo is offering discounts on takeaway meals from 46,000 restaurants or discounts on shopping bills at the likes of Waitrose, Morrisons and Aldi.
Pizza Pilgrims, a restaurant chain with 10 outlets in central London, is offering discounts on meals, while Bolt, another ride-hailing app, will offer “free ride credits” to vaccination centres.
The Telegraph understands that the scheme is likely to be expanded to include free tickets at cinema chains and drinks at coffee bars in the coming weeks.
Ministers want to promote the new scheme at a “major flagship event” for young people in the next few weeks, when they will be offered a credit voucher.
The offer will be targeted at younger adults, but will be open to all ages, which could create a backlash among others who have already had their jabs and were not rewarded for it.
The introduction of new incentives to encourage reluctant groups to be vaccinated showed the “direction of travel” as ministers pushed to get more people vaccinated, insiders said.
One Whitehall source said: “This is just the start of it, we are expecting a number of other companies to get involved. We are looking to move quickly on this.”
Typically people will be offered discounts of around £10, either on a voucher or in a discount code sent to their mobile phones, if they can prove they have just received their first jab.
The details of how the scheme will work are still being finalised but people could be able to prove they have been jabbed by submitting a "selfie" photograph of them at a vaccine centre.
Insiders stressed that the "vouchers for jabs" plan was funded by the companies themselves and there were no plans to involve public money.
University College London estimates total population immunity is now at 87 per cent, although they believe the delta variant has shifted the herd immunity threshold to 93 per cent.
A Deliveroo spokesman said: “This is the next step in helping get people vaccinated and safely back to normal.”
Thom Elliot, Pizza Pilgrims Founder, added: "By making getting your jab as easy as grabbing a pizza, hopefully we can help our teams and our customers get both their first and second doses as easily and quickly as possible.”
Almost 90 per cent of the adult population, more than 46 million people, have had their first Covid vaccine and 70 per cent of adults – 38 million – have had both doses.
Thanking businesses for “stepping up” to support the vaccine drive, Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, urged people to “take advantage of the discounts”.
He added: “The lifesaving vaccines not only protect you, your loved ones and your community, but they are helping to bring us back together by allowing you to get back to doing the things you’ve missed.”
Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccines minister, said there was “strong enthusiasm” among young people to be vaccinated, adding: “Please get your jabs as soon as you can and grab a bargain.”
It comes after Joe Biden, the US President, announced plans last week to pay Americans $100 (£72) each to be vaccinated against coronavirus, saying: “Please, please get vaccinated. We just need to finish the job.”
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