Donuts, Baseball Tickets, Cheesecake, & More: The Best Vaccine Incentives In NYC

This week, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the Mets and Yankees would begin offering people the opportunity to get the Johnson & Johnson shot before games—and as a cherry on top, if you get vaccinated there, you can get free tickets to a future ballgame.

This was just the latest grand attempt at incentivizing people to get vaccinated—New Jersey, for example, rolled out a “Shot and a Beer” program this week, allowing anyone with a vaccination card to get a free beer at a local brewery (Connecticut has a similar program). Mayor Bill de Blasio suggested the city would be unveiling their own incentive program soon (A Shot and a Schmear?), and has proposed vaccinating tourists at popular sites, with the incentive being you get to fully participate in the culture of the greatest city in the world.

As of Thursday, over 37% of New Yorkers are fully vaccinated, and almost 50% of have received at least one dose; that puts New York in the top ten of states with the highest percentage of its population fully vaccinated. But we still have a ways to go, and recent studies have shown that people who haven’t been vaccinated yet are highly motivated by Free Stuff (or cold hard cash).

According to a survey by the U.C.L.A. COVID-19 Health and Politics Project, about a third of the unvaccinated population said a cash payment of $100 would make them more likely to get a shot. To that end, West Virginia has already announced that they will give young people $100 bonds to do so, and Detroit is giving out $50 prepaid cards to anyone who drives someone else to a vaccine site.

New York hasn’t signaled that it is quite ready to hand out cash yet, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a good amount of incentives available immediately. Below is an overview of the freebies that are accessible to both the vaccinated and soon-to-be vaccinated—and if we missed anything, email us at tips@gothamist.com.

GET VACCINATED TO GET THESE THINGS

  • The aforementioned Mets and Yankees tickets. Starting May 19th, if you go to Citi Field or Yankee Stadium before a game and get vaccinated, you get tickets to an upcoming game. “Basically, you come to the game, take a vaccine shot, get a voucher, go to that game, if that game’s sold out you can go the next night or go to a game of your choice,” said Yankees president Randy Levine. More details will be released on the teams’ websites closer to the start date.
  • If you choose to get vaccinated under the big blue whale at the American Museum of Natural History, you get up to four free museum tickets. Get more info here.
  • Nathan’s flagship location in Coney Island is giving a free hot dog to anyone who comes by with proof they got vaccinated that same day. It’s the perfect thing to enjoy before you burrow into your couch and wait to see if you experience any possible vaccine side effects.
  • Lyft and Uber are both offering free or discounted rides to unvaccinated people headed to their appointment.

But what if you’re a responsible person who has already gotten vaccinated? Don’t you deserve something for being on top of your shit? Yes, of course you do!

USE YOUR VACCINATION CARD TO GET THESE THINGS

  • Junior’s Cheesecake is giving away a free mini-cheesecake to anyone who shows proof they’ve been vaccinated until May 31st at both the Downtown Brooklyn location and the newly-reopened Times Square one.
  • You can get a free glazed donut at any Krispy Kreme location with proof of vaccination.
  • Through May 16th, you can register to get a free Budweiser with proof of vaccination.
  • Through May 31st, White Castle is giving a free dessert-on-a-stick to anyone with proof of vaccination. Choose between a Gooey Buttercake-on-a-Stick, Fudge Dipped Brownie-on-a-Stick, Fudge Dipped Cheesecake-on-a-Stick, or a Birthday Cake-on-a-Stick.
  • Also through May 31st, the Vitamin Shoppe is giving one free “full-size healthy snack or drink product” with proof of vaccination.
  • Staples, Office Depot, and Office Max are all offering to laminate your vaccine cards for free. Office Depot and Office Max are doing it at least through July 25th, while Staples has no end date.

If you find yourself hankering to get vaccinated in another state (which is allowed in many places), here are a few other incentives to watch out for—that includes a surprising amount of dispensaries in other parts of the country, although as you can see in the photo above, NYC got a taste of that on 4/20 in Union Square.

If you’re still looking for a vaccination appointment, you should check out the official NYC Vaccine Finder website.

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