Bratislava, Slovakia – The Slovak government will give cash handouts to citizens aged over 60 who get vaccinated against Covid-19.
Last week, the Parliament approved the government’s proposal to give €200 to Slovaks over 60 years old who would register to receive the vaccine by mid-January, as well as those from the same age category who have already been inoculated against the virus.
Under the scheme, Slovaks over 60 registering for a booster shot will for their part receive a sum of €300.
The government led by Prime Minister Eduard Heger had first considered providing vouchers for hotels and restaurants, before switching to simple cash handouts.
Slovakia is not the first to introduce such a measure, with governments around the world coming up with various schemes and financial incentives – from lotteries to cash prizes, discounts, or even cow raffles – to fight vaccine hesitancy.
It remains uncertain how efficient cash handouts are at boosting the vaccination rate.
Badly hit by the latest wave of the pandemic, Slovakia has been struggling with some of the world’s highest infection rates over the past several weeks, forcing authorities to introduce lockdown measures and tighten restrictions, especially for the unvaccinated.
Less than 50% of Slovakia’s population of 5.5 million is fully vaccinated, while around 68% of those aged 60 or more have been fully jabbed – among the lowest rates in the EU.
No decision has yet been reached on whether or not the vaccine would be made mandatory for elderly people.
The first three cases of the Omicron variant were meanwhile confirmed in Slovakia over the week-end.