Protecting yourself and your loved ones against COVID-19 is the greatest prize of all after the past year - but businesses across the country are throwing in a little something extra to reward those who have gotten their shot (or encourage those who are dragging their feet).
To date, 62.8% of American adults have already received at least one dose of the shot and 133.6 million are fully vaccinated against the viral disease - and the White House just announced their push to get that number to 70% by July 4. To help meet that goal, brands, politicians, corporations and more are pushing to keep the momentum going with giveaways for free food, alcohol, sporting tickets, scholarships and even millions of dollars.
Below, we've rounded up some of the promotions and prizes currently available across the country as rewards for getting your shot. And lots of restaurants are offering incentives at the local level, so don't forget to Google what's happening near you and support a small business at the same time!
Indiana: Free Girl Scout Cookies
In Indiana, residents will receive one free box of Girl Scout cookies at their vaccination appointment at specially designated sites across the Hoosier State.
Shake Shack: Free Crinkle Cut Fries
The burger chain joined forces with N.Y.C. Mayor Bill de Blasio to offer vaccinated New Yorkers free Crinkle Cut Fries with the purchase of any burger or chicken sandwich until June 12. While supplies last, residents can also earn a ShackBurger voucher (good through the end of the year) when they get vaccinated at one of the city's mobile vaccine buses.
Nhat V. Meyer/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty
Krispy Kreme: Free Donuts
Nathan's Famous: Free Hot Dog
They're not "famous" for nothing! Nathan's is offering a free hot dog on the same day of your vaccine at their original Coney Island location in Brooklyn, New York.
Ledo Pizza: Free Pizza
The Annapolis, Maryland-based pizza chain is offering one free eight-inch Cheese Pizza to Maryland residents who've received their first dose of the vaccine through June 30, or until they've given out 10,000 pizzas.
José Andrés Restaurants: $50 Gift Card
The World Central Kitchen founder is giving out $50 gift cards to his restaurants in the Washington, D.C. area to those who show proof of vaccination as of May 8 or later. The participating restaurants include Jaleo DC, Jaleo Crystal City, Oyamel, Zaytinya, or China Chilcano.
Anheuser-Busch: Free Beer
Drinks on them! On June 2, the major brewer pledged to "buy Americans 21+ a round of beer" once 70% of U.S. adults are partially vaccinated, in support of the president's goal of hitting that milestone by July 4.
"We pride ourselves on stepping up both in times of need and in times of great celebration, and the past year has been no different," Michel Doukeris, CEO, Anheuser-Busch, said in a statement. "As we look ahead to brighter days with renewed optimism, we are proud to work alongside the White House to make a meaningful impact for our country, our communities and our consumers."
According to the fine print, once the national goal is hit, the Budweiser brewer will buy the nation's next round of beer, seltzer or non-alcoholic beverage in its "biggest beer giveaway ever." Those over age 21 can cash in by submitting a photo of themselves at their favorite spot to grab a drink (backyards included!) to MyCooler.com/Beer.
Miami: Shots for Shots
Through Memorial Day, the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce ran a "Shots for Shots" promotion to encourage beach-goers to get their vaccine while working on their tans. Anyone who got vaccinated at the walk-up site on 17th Street and Convention Center was given a coupon for a free drink at participating venues, as well as another coupon for discounts and other freebies to redeem at a range of venues including dry cleaners, clothing boutiques and pizza restaurants.
Getty Stacks of cash
New York has set the bar high with a "Vax and Scratch" promotion that offered free NYS Lottery scratch-off tickets to adults over 18 who got their shot at 10 vaccination sites across the Empire State from May 24 to May 28. The grand prize? A cool $5 million.
Likewise, California's "Vax for the Win" drive is incentivizing the shot with a contest open to everyone over age 12 who has had at least one dose of the vaccine - no entry necessary. On June 15, the state will announce 10 winners of $1.5 million cash prizes. If tweens or teens between the ages of 12 and 17 were to win, the money would be placed in a savings account until they turned 18.
In Oregon, vaccinated adults can win $1 million - or one of 36 $10,000 prizes, one winner in each county - through the state's Take Your Shot campaign. All who have received at least one vaccine dose by midnight on June 27 are eligible, with the drawing set for the following day.
Starting in mid-June, New Mexicans who have had at least one shot will be entered in weekly drawings to take home a $250,000 prize; those fully vaccinated by early August could win the grand prize of $5 million.
In West Virginia, in a bid to get more young people vaccinated, the state will give out $100 savings bonds to all 16- to 35-year-olds who get the COVID-19 vaccine, including those who have already received their shot.
Ohio was first to make headlines when Gov. Mike DeWine offered fully vaccinated residents the chance to win $1 million lottery prizes.
"I know that some may say, 'DeWine, you're crazy! This million-dollar-drawing idea of yours is a waste of money,'" the governor said, according to The Washington Post. "But truly, the real waste at this point in the pandemic - when the vaccine is readily available to anyone who wants it - is a life lost to COVID-19."
Ohioans apparently heard him loud and clear - in a May 17 press conference, Ohio Health Director Stephanie McCloud revealed that vaccinations increased by 6% among people between 30 to 74 following the lottery announcement.
Ohio led the way with the education enticement, offering five full-ride scholarships as part of the state lottery. Now, Ohio is giving away five full-ride scholarships to any in-state college or university for residents between the ages of 12 and 17 who have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine.
One lucky student will be drawn each week for five weeks, starting May 26. The scholarship money will come from a pot of federal COVID-19 relief funds.
In New York, new incentives include a full-ride scholarship to one of the state's public universities, according to The New York Times. Beginning May 27, any 12- to 17-year old New York residents are eligible to be entered into the raffle after getting their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
Live in Delaware? The state is giving away one full-ride scholarship to a public, in-state university. Delawareans between the ages of 12 and 17 who receive a vaccine in their home state will be entered into the rewarding raffle.
Hunting and Fishing
Making the most of the great outdoors, Maine is giving away up to 5,000 fishing licenses and 5,000 hunting licenses for the 2021 year for residents over 18 who receive their first shot. Eligible entrants for the hunting promotion must have passed a hunter safety course, previously have held a hunting license and are not felons.
In Arkansas, those who have received the COVID-19 vaccine can score a $20 gift certificate for use towards hunting or fishing licenses, too.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced that five hunting rifles and five hunting shotguns will be given away in a new lottery, with drawings selected from June 20 to Aug. 4. Other prizes include two brand-new custom trucks, plus five lifetime hunting and fishing licenses, The Hill reported.
— NYC Mayor's Office (@NYCMayorsOffice) May 10, 2021
New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced that tickets to a slew of the city's top destinations and experiences will be made available at a discount or for free to those who've received the COVID-19 vaccine. The list, which he says will continue to expand, currently includes: NYC Aquarium, NY Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Bronx Zoo, Public Theatre Membership, Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Cyclones, New York City Football Club, the NYC Ferry and a free two-week Citi Bike membership.
"From this point on there will be many, many opportunities to get great, great prizes when you get vaccinated," De Blasio said in a statement. "We want people to know it's time."
Illinois is offering 50,000 free tickets to Six Flags Great America to those who get vaccinated (and yep, they're setting up a clinic right in the parking lot). Chicago is putting on a show for fully vaccinated residents this summer: the Protect Chicago Music Series, a monthly music event open exclusively to vaccinated residents and taking place across the city all summer long.
Alabama residents who attended a drive-up clinic at the Talladega Superspeedway on May 15 got to take two laps around the famed racetrack in their own car.
Free Super Bowl Tickets
The NFL announced during the Global Citizen's VAX Live: The Concert to Reunite the World event that they would be giving away 50 tickets to Super Bowl LVI to vaccinated people who shared why it was important to get the shot.
The @Mets, the @Yankees & @HealthNYGov are teaming up so that when you go to a game you can can get a vaccine right at the stadium.
When you do, you'll get a free ticket.
So if you love baseball (& protecting your community) — go to a game, get vaccinated & get a free ticket!
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) May 5, 2021
Free Yankees and Mets Tickets
The MLB teams are offering vaccinations at their respective stadiums (Yankee Stadium and Citi Field) and a free ticket to a game as encouragement to get the vaccine.
Other teams across the country are also offering discounted or free tickets, including the Cincinnati Reds, Seattle Mariners and Cleveland Indians. The New Mexico United soccer team is hosting a vaccine tailgate, where participants will receive free tickets to a future match.
Washington State announced their promotion called "Joints for Jabs," which will allow adults who are 21 or older to claim a free marijuana joint once they receive their shot. The promotion will run through July 12, the New York Times reported on June 7.
Office Depot and Office Max are offering free lamination for vaccine cards nationwide through July 25.
Help spread the word: From May 24 until July 4, Uber and Lyft will offer everyone in America free rides to and from COVID-19 vaccination sites.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) May 18, 2021
Meanwhile, Michigan plans to lift its broader mitigation measures - like face masks and limitations on group gathering sizes - once the state records that 70% of residents over age 16 are vaccinated against COVID-19.
On a national level, President Joe Biden announced on May 18 that from May 24 through July 4, Uber and Lyft will be giving free rides to and from COVID vaccination sites.
Moving forward, the White House is also teaming up with childcare centers like KinderCare, Learning Care Group, Bright Horizons and over 500 YMCAs to coordinate free childcare for American adults seeking vaccine appointments or in need of backup while recovering from potential side effects, the Associated Press reported.