Washington, D.C. Is Bribing Teens With Free AirPods if They Get Vaccinated

Their parents will also be offered perks: one $51 Visa gift card for every teen they take to get vaccinated.

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Image for article titled Washington, D.C. Is Bribing Teens With Free AirPods if They Get Vaccinated
Photo: Stephen Lam (Getty Images)

It’s crazy to think that in the U.S., officials have to offer bribes to people so they can get vaccinated against covid-19, especially given that folks in other countries would do anything to have access and would roll up their sleeves for free. Yet, considering the threat of the super contagious Delta variant, believe me, I’m not here to judge. Rather, I only have two words to say to teens: free AirPods.

On Saturday, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that beginning this weekend, teens between the ages of 12 and 17 who get their first vaccine shot at selected middle schools in the area will receive free AirPods. Besides the AirPods, young people will also be entered into a weekly drawing beginning at the end of the month to win an iPad with headphones (eight winners each week) and a $25,000 college scholarship (two winners each week).


The youth vaccine giveaway campaign will run from August 7 to September 30, with the weekly drawings for additional prizes beginning on August 30.

Since many of these young people need parents to take them to get vaccinated, Bowser threw in a perk for the adults as well. Parents and guardians will receive a $51 Visa gift card for every young person they take to get their first shot.


While you may shake your head, Washington, D.C. isn’t the only place offering incentives to get people vaccinated. In June, West Virginia unveiled a lottery program with prizes such as hunting rifles, shotguns, new trucks, $1 million, and hunting and fishing licenses for life. Around the same time, California said it would have “$50,000 Fridays” and give away 30 prizes of that amount, as well as six paid vacations. In Hawaii, meanwhile, officials were giving out airline miles, roundtrips on Southwest Airlines, a year of free pizza, and more.

According to the Washington, D.C. government, as of August 2, an estimated 64.6% of residents had received at least one dose of the vaccine. An estimated 55.1% were fully vaccinated. For reference, at the national level, 71% of people over 18 years old have received at least one dose and 61.1% of those in this group are fully vaccinated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Sunday. The capital has had 51,103 covid-19 cases since March 2020.