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Cash for jabs, but there’s a catch

A young man receiving a vaccine injection and a young man holding Australian $50 notes.
Businesses will not be allowed to offer public incentives for those who are vaccinated against COVID-19 (Source: Getty)

Australia’s drug monitoring agency, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), has ruled that businesses can offer rewards to help incentivise Aussies to get the COVID vaccine.

The TGA said if businesses want to offer rewards, money, vouchers or as Qantas has already signalled, frequent flyer miles, they can but only for people who have had both doses.

Unlike the lottery system in the United States where everyone who gets the first dose of the vaccine has a chance to win a million dollars, the TGA said Aussies will need to be fully vaccinated before businesses can offer them rewards.

“Organisations are also able to offer rewards to people who have been fully vaccinated (i.e. have had two vaccinations) under the Australian Government's program,” the TGA said in a statement.

“Such rewards can be monetary or for example, include store vouchers, discounts or frequent flyer points, but cannot include alcohol, tobacco or medicines (other than listed medicines).”

The TGA said businesses can decide whether they want to offer rewards exclusively to their own employees or members of the public.

However, the TGA also said rewards cannot be restricted to only those Aussies who get vaccinated after the reward has been announced.

This means that if you’re already fully vaccinated you can apply for any rewards that may come on offer any time in the future.

This means those already vaccinated will have no problem applying for the rewards Qantas has said it will offer to vaccinated Aussies.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said Aussies who receive the COVID-19 vaccine could be eligible for huge travel incentives.

"We are looking at giving 1000 points flight vouchers, credits and we are going to offer ten mega prizes, at least one for each state and territory, where a family of four get unlimited travel on the Qantas and Jetstar network, anywhere in the network for a year,” Joyce said.

Paid leave for vaccinations

This comes as Aussie unions call on the Government to allow paid leave for workers to receive their COVID-19 vaccine.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) wrote to Prime Minister Scott Morrison asking for the Government to provide two days special paid leave for each dose of the vaccine for all frontline workers.

The ACTU said those who work in aged care, disability and support services should get the special leave as well as have their costs going to and from vaccination facilities covered.

ACTU Secretary Sally McManus said workers in aged and disability care are being asked to go without pay for multiple days to get the vaccine and deal with routine side effects.

“This is a huge financial disincentive for low-paid, insecure workers. We have been telling the Morrison Government since the start of the rollout, both privately and publicly, that it was essential that these workers be supported to get the vaccine,” she said.

“Other frontline health and high priority workers have been provided with paid leave to attend vaccination and recover from side effects and the same should apply for aged care and disability support workers.”

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