A happy Candace Mathura points to the area on her arm where she received the COVID-19 vaccine at the Marabella Health Centre, yesterday.

The health benefits of getting the COVID-19 vaccine may not be sufficient to convince some members of the public to get vaccinated.

That is why one local business has found a creative approach that may help the country move a step closer to achieving herd immunity.

Much like how businesses in the United States have offered free taxi rides to those on their way to get vaccinated, discounted purchases and even free meals right after people have got their jabs, St Christopher’s Service Station is following suit.

If you thought that it cannot get better than sinking your teeth into pre-packaged doubles during the lockdown, then imagine paying half the price.

It is an offer by St Christopher’s (Service Station) to anyone who received their COVID-19 vaccination and according to General Manager Robert Mohammed, the discounts are applicable on most items across the store, including gas.

“ We are saying to you come to St Christopher with your immunization card and whether you get 1 jab or 2 jab and we will give you a loyalty card that gives you 20 points and you can buy anything in the store for 20 points.”

Since the government’s rollout of its covid 19 vaccination programme on April 6 over 1,200 people have been fully inoculated, while over 70,000 have received their first jab.

To ensure enthusiasm in the vaccine does not plateau, the service station’s general manager has adopted an incentivized strategy to help get the country across the finish line.

“ We’ve been through it, this is the second wave and the only way we can really get through this is to vaccinate as many people as possible.”

Mohammed encouraged other businesses to adopt the strategy which has been implemented in parts of the US.

Psychiatrist Dr Varma Deyalsingh explained that encouraging segments of society towards being vaccinated may determine whether herd immunity is achieved sooner or later.

“There is a section of the population this will appeal to, it’s a motivating factor and I’m thinking we may have no choice but to offer these incentives, even a cash incentive. The government has to use everything in its arsenal to allow people’s minds to be changed.”

Dr Deyalsingh said the inducement strategy could even help to avert the collapse of the country’s parallel health care system.