- Kroger announced on Friday it’s launching a $5 million giveaway program for consumers next week aimed at boosting COVID-19 vaccination rates, according to a company press release.
- Over the next five weeks, the grocer will award $1 million weekly to one randomly selected consumer who received their vaccine through Kroger Health. The grocer will also award free groceries for a year to 10 vaccine recipients, totaling 50 over the promotional period.
- Kroger’s “Community Immunity” initiative is part of a collaboration with the Biden administration to boost vaccinations and reach the national goal of 70% or more of U.S. adults having received at least their first shot.
Kroger is the first U.S. grocer to launch a major giveaway program aimed at boosting COVID-19 vaccination rates. The move follows similar incentive programs states have launched in recent weeks in an effort to meet federal inoculation goals this summer.
"The faster we reach community immunity, the sooner we can all get back to enjoying backyard barbecues, live music and gathering for special occasions," Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO, said in a statement.
Ohio, Kroger’s home state, is also holding a series of $1 million giveaways and offering the chance for teens to win full-ride college scholarships for getting vaccinated. California plans to give out $50 prepaid gift cards to the next two million people who get vaccinated, and will hold periodic drawings for cash payouts of up to $1.5 million, The New York Times reported. Oregon, Maryland and Colorado have launched similar programs in recent weeks.
Numerous retailers, including Kroger, are incentivizing their employees to get vaccinated through financial payouts and time off. But few are so far offering perks for consumers to get vaccinated. One exception is Meijer, which is offering $10 coupons.
Giveaways from Kroger and various states could push other retailers to get involved. For its part, Kroger is shaping its image as a corporate leader in the national vaccination push. Earlier this week, McMullen penned an opinion piece for CNN that prodded businesses to offer incentives for their employees who get vaccinated.
“About a quarter of US adults have said they will not try to get the vaccine. That's why companies like mine must play a role in making sure employees understand the benefits of getting the vaccine, and also incentivize their employees to do so,” he wrote.
Kroger has so far distributed more than 4.6 million COVID-19 vaccines. The company was also among the first to launch at-home COVID-19 test kits and antibody testing last year, and earlier this month rolled out rapid antigem self-testing kits.