Thailand’s Covid jab rate surges as cows and fried chicken offered as incentives

Thailand's vaccination rate has surged after free cows, gold necklaces and fried chicken were offered people who get their Covid jabs.

Authorities said daily vaccination figures had increased "from hundreds to thousands" within days of the campaign being announced on May 20.

French fries, cash and store discounts were also among the incentives being offered by the authorities and businesses after the number of those receiving jabs began to dwindle.

A number of provinces are offering giveaways and discounts to lure people to get the Covid injection.

In Mae Chaem in Chiang Mai, for example, a young cow worth 10,000 baht (£225) will be given away each week to people who have had their shot.

The incentive scheme is expected to last for six months.

Mae Chaem district sheriff Boonlue Thammathanurak said vaccination registrations had skyrocketed since the free cow competition was announced.

“The vaccine registration numbers have reached from hundreds to thousands in a couple of days after we announced the campaign," he said.

"They love cows. They believe that having a cow is like having a large amount of deposit money. Cows can be sold for cash.

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“More people also joined a seminar discussing the significance of the vaccine, which allowed the public health staff to provide more information about Covid-19 and the vaccination.”

More than 4,000 people in high-risk groups, including the over-60s and those with health conditions, have already registered for their shots, Thammathanurak added.

Meanwhile, the Phon district in Khon Kaen announced it would give a gold necklace to three vaccinated residents, while those who miss out of the grand prize being offered store discount coupons.

Even global franchises have got in on the act.

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Fast food giant McDonald's already offering free french fries to customers who have had their injections, while Texas Chicken is offering free poultry meals.

Thailand is ramping up its vaccination efforts following a recent spike in infections – particularly around capital Bangkok – which continues to wreak havoc on the economy.

Earlier today, 2,455 new infections were confirmed, with a record high of 41 coronavirus-related daily deaths in the last 24 hours, Thailand's Public Health Ministry revealed.

The new cases included 479 prison inmates.

Thai ruler King Maha Vajiralongkorn has approved a bill to allow borrowing of up to 500 billion baht (£11.3bn) to support the country's Covid response.

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