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Discounts for vaccinated people are not discriminatory, say Singapore companies

Promotions aim to encourage more people to get their jabs rather than knock the unjabbed.

Staff Writers
2 minute read
A man wearing a face mask crosses the street in Singapore’s Chinatown district in this May 12, 2020 file photo. Photo: AP
A man wearing a face mask crosses the street in Singapore’s Chinatown district in this May 12, 2020 file photo. Photo: AP

Businesses in Singapore that have rolled out discounts for customers who are vaccinated against Covid-19 say it’s to encourage more people to get jabbed and is not discrimination.

Retailers, food and beverage outlets, and other services are among the businesses offering discounts, vouchers and freebies to those who can prove they have had the jab.

Companies CNA spoke to said these perks were meant as “additional encouragement” to reward those who have been partially or fully vaccinated.

As of July 28, more than 3.2 million people in Singapore have completed the full vaccination regimen, according to the health ministry, which is encouraging the rest to come forward.

Those jabbed can receive promo codes from the iamvaccinated.sg website run by healthcare provider Minmed Group, which aggregates deals and offers from companies targeted at those who have been vaccinated.

The site has been up since February, when Minmed started setting up its vaccination centres.

“At that time, there was a lot of talk about side effects and apprehension about receiving the vaccine,” said Minmed’s executive director Sharmaine Chng.

“We really felt that the vaccination is an important part of the war against Covid-19, so that’s why we wanted to do something that’s a bit more fun and take away the negative perspective or the heavy discussions,” she said.

The other reason for aggregating the perks and discounts available to vaccinated people was to boost business for F&B outlets and retailers negatively affected by the pandemic. Many of the merchants on the site are local businesses, she noted.

Part-time cleaning service Helpling launched a discount voucher for the vaccinated on the website. They have seen 23 redemptions so far, said the company’s head of operations Zhong Jingjing.

“We think most people are unaware of this, therefore not many people have taken up the deal yet. We wanted to support the vaccination effort,” she told CNA.

This week, co-chair of the multi-ministry task force Lawrence Wong said it will review some Covid-19 restrictions early next month, but any easing of measures will be only for vaccinated people who are “much better protected” against the virus.

When asked if these offers for vaccinated customers could be perceived as discriminatory, companies were quick to stress that they were meant as tokens of appreciation or support for the vaccination roll-out.

Helpling’s Zhong said it is meant to support the government’s vaccination initiatives and that customers who are unvaccinated can still book its services.

At restaurant group Peach Garden, customers can get S$5.60 off their total bill for each fully vaccinated diner.

“We came up with the vaccination promotion to encourage more Singapore residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible. By getting their vaccinations, they are not only protecting themselves but protecting the people around them as well, making Singapore a safer place,” said general manager Darren Yew.

He said the promotions are meant to encourage and reward as many eligible individuals as possible to complete their vaccinations.

“When more eligible individuals are vaccinated, it in turn protects those who are unable to be vaccinated as well. Regardless of the vaccination status of an individual, we welcome him or her at our restaurants all the same,” he said.