Mayoral candidate proposes ‘VaxPacks’ to tie vaccination effort and economic rebound


This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. The nation is poised to get a third vaccine against COVID-19, but health officials are concerned that at first glance the Johnson & Johnson shot may not be seen as equal to other options from Pfizer and Moderna. (Johnson & Johnson via AP)

NEW YORK — In recent weeks, companies have started offering freebies to customers that show proof that they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 as a way to promote getting the shot; one mayoral candidate is taking it a step further.

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer — who’s running for mayor in a crowded race — is proposing a program to link the COVID-19 vaccination effort with the push toward an economic rebound in the city.

Stringer’s proposal includes city-funded “VaxPacks.” They’d include items such as a voucher for a two trip MetroCard; a $20 voucher to use at local New York City restaurants and other small businesses; admissions vouchers to movie theaters, museums or other cultural venues; informational booklets on city services and summer events; or other ways to get out on the town.

The program, Stringer proposed, could be funded up front by the city with a $50 million payment to reimburse the MTA and any business accepting vouchers.

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