Vaccine Freebies and Incentives Are Starting to Pop Up Around Portland

Got your shot? Congrats—you qualify for a discount on pot. Or a free Jell-O shot!

By Julia Silverman April 29, 2021

Doughnuts, yes, but also discounts on weed and free Jell-O shots for the vaccinated among us in Portland.

In West Virginia, to lure the young, restless, and COVID vaccine-resistant (or even just those who haven’t gotten around to making their appointment), the Republican governor has a pretty sweet perk on offer: cold, hard cash. 

The state’s offering a $100 savings bond to every resident between the ages of 16 and 35 who gets their shot, available retroactively and projected to cost about $27.5 million. 

In the Portland area? Well, no free money as yet—but you can get a discount on weed or a free Jell-O shot, if that helps? 

The concept of incentivizing vaccines (beyond the CDC’s announcement this week that if you are among the vaccinated, you can now feel free to walk around outside without your mask on, most of the time), got a big boost nationally back in March when Krispy Kreme jumped on the bandwagon with an offer of a free doughnut every day for a year, with proof of vaccination.  

But in Portland proper, the concept has been slower to take off, perhaps because demand for vaccines has been high and space limited, though that could be changing, if Seattle’s example is any indication 

That’s part of why local cannabis chain Kaya Shack launched its “Pot for Shot” program, offering a 10 percent discount to anyone who brings in their vaccine card from now until the end of the pandemic, whenever that might be. 

“We hope that even with our small reach, by encouraging and offering discounts to those who have been kind enough to get a vaccine, that we can all take part and help each other get back to enjoying our local restaurants and businesses that have been struggling for too long,” says Bryan Arnold, Kaya Shack’s Vice President of Marketing. “We have had many customers take advantage of the ‘Pot for Shot’ promotion and express their thankfulness for positively recognizing the importance of the COVID vaccine program.” 

From over in Vancouver, WA, meanwhile, comes word that local bar Vault 31 is offering free —yes, free — Jell-O shots with proof of vaccination, as a thank you for customers who’ve rolled up their sleeves and done their part for the common good. (It does not hurt that those who’ve come for the Jell-O shots usually stick around to order food and drinks.) 

Looking for even more freebies? Here’s a helpful national list—unfortunately, not too many of these apply in Oregon. We’re not in Lyft’s service area for free rides to vaccine appointments, and there are no White Castles in Oregon, just a sad petition with 17 signees from eight years ago petitioning the company to open a location here. Maybe it is time to move to West Virginia?

Listen: Dreading the potential side effects of the second dose? Don't let it scare into not getting that second shot. In this episode of Footnotes, we talk with Dawn Nolt, a professor of pediatrics at Oregon Health & Science University, about second dose side effects and why they're actually a good thing. 

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