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Japanese town to give residents who get COVID-19 vaccine $9.45 gift certificates

Delivery staff move a box of Pfizer Inc's COVID-19 vaccine on a carriage at a hospital in Tokyo on Feb. 16, 2021. (Kimimasa Mayama/Pool Photo via AP)

MIYASHIRO, Saitama -- This eastern Japan town north of Tokyo has announced that it will provide each resident who receives a COVID-19 vaccine with a gift certificate worth 1,000-yen (about $9.45).

    The Miyashiro Municipal Government has earmarked some 60 million yen (about $570,000) for the scheme in its fiscal 2021 budget bill.

    According to the town's health care division, about 30,000 people in the town aged 16 and older are eligible to receive vaccinations. Each person given a shot will receive a "thank you gift certificate" worth 1,000 yen, issued by the town's chamber of commerce. The gift certificate can be used at small businesses in the town. Because recipients of the vaccine produced by U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer's will receive two shots in principle, they will receive two gift certificates, worth 2,000 yen in total.

    The municipal government is considering giving the certificates to residents at vaccination sites while they are resting during group vaccinations. A government official said, "We'll implement this scheme as a project unique to this town in order to raise the vaccination rate and vitalize the local economy."

    (Japanese original by Mitsuo Koga, Saitama Higashi Bureau)

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