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Free Cars Being Offered to Encourage Vaccinations in Moscow

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Big problems require big solutions, as they say. In order to convince recalcitrant Muscovites to get vaccinated against Covid-19, Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced that adults receiving a first dose of the vaccine June 14 and July 11 would automatically be entered in a draw to win a car.

Whether you’re for or against the vaccine, the science say clearly that it is the only path out of the pandemic, so the gesture is understandable. Moscow's mayor wants to speed up the slow pace of vaccinations, especially given that authorities there have had to implement new restrictive measures to stem a rise in cases. The Russian capital reported 7,704 new infections Sunday, the highest number in a single day since Dec. 24. Authorities confirmed 14,723 cases nationwide, the highest number of cases in a single day since Feb. 13.

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But we’ll leave the science to the scientists. What interests us specifically here is the fact that the incentive being used to draw in Muscovites is… cars.

In all, five vehicles worth about $17,000 CAD each will be drawn at random every week.

“This is only a temporary solution”, Sergei Sobyanin said yesterday. “To avoid further restrictions and ensure a sustainable improvement in the situation, we need to significantly accelerate vaccinations”.

Russia began rolling out its Sputnik V vaccine in December and it was quickly offered to all residents of Moscow.