Shanghai mobilizes pop idols to boost vaccination rate

Published (HKT): 2021.05.02 22:07

Shanghai has enlisted popular girl group SNH48 to help promote vaccinations, as cities and districts across China turn to creative ways to incentivize more people to take their shots.

About 265 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered in China as of the end of April, providing protection to only 18.9% of the population.

To boost vaccination figures, the Hongkou district government of Shanghai invited multi-member girl group SNH48 to be ambassadors for a vaccination campaign.

As part of this campaign, a vaccination van would be parked at the SNH48 Xingmeng Theater on Tuesday and Wednesday to offer free jabs. Fans who get vaccinated would receive special stamps in their fan passport, with SNH48 members Fei Qinyuan and Li Jiaen helping with the stamping on the campaign’s second day.

Local governments across the country have also been using gifts to boost vaccination numbers. In Hainan province’s Jinjiangzhen, residents can enter a lucky draw after getting their jabs, with the top prize being an electric vehicle worth 2,500 yuan (US$386). In Yongfazhen, inoculated residents can receive umbrellas, detergent, toothpaste, eggs or coupons, while the governments in Wenchang and Dongfang have used transport subsidies of 100 yuan and 150 yuan as incentives for those who work in other cities.

Meanwhile, a vaccination center in Hangzhou has arranged for vehicles to bring residents and those from local companies and factories to take their jabs. The Jiuxianqiao district in Beijing implemented a similar arrangement starting from April 23, offering free trips to vaccination centers twice a day.

In March, Chinese epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan said the country must reach a 40% vaccination rate by June to achieve the lowest possible threshold for herd immunity.

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