Scott Morrison has vowed to intervene on behalf of a Melbourne pub that was banned from giving out free beer as an incentive for punters to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Last week, the Prince Alfred Hotel in Port Melbourne announced it would offer a free beer to anyone who got the COVID-19 vaccination at a nearby Town Hall vaccination centre.
Co-owner Tom Streater (above) told the Herald Sun he was keen to “do our bit” to avoid future lockdowns.
“More people vaccinated means less COVID,” he said. “We can’t afford to do another year like last year. If we had to stay closed for another five to six months I’m not sure if we would come out the other side. My mate who owns a restaurant said ‘thank god you’re doing something about it’.”
Streater estimated about 500 extra people got vaccinated at the hub this week because of the pub’s initiative.
However, the Therapeutic Goods Administration contacted the pub on Wednesday to say alcoholic vaccine incentives were banned.
The Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Sunrise the TGA’s response was “a bit heavy-handed”.
“The TGA is doing a good job, the rules are there for important reasons,” he said. “
‘The TGA is doing a good job, the rules are there for important reasons,’ he told Sunrise. “It is a sensible rule, but in these circumstances, the national interest is to get vaccinated, so the Prince Alfred down in Melbourne, good on you for getting behind it.
Morrison said the government is working to “get it sorted” for the pub.
Free beer for jabs in the US
In the United States, giving free beers as an incentive for vaccination has been popular and successful.
In June, brewer AB InBev promised to buy every American (of legal drinking age) a beer if the country hit its official target 70% of the population being vaccinated by July 4.
“At Anheuser-Busch, we are committed to supporting the safe and strong recovery of our nation and being able to be together again at the places and with the people we have missed so much. This commitment includes encouraging Americans to get vaccinated, and we are excited to buy Americans 21+ a round of beer when we reach the White House goal,” said Michel Doukeris, CEO, Anheuser-Busch via a statement.
“We pride ourselves on stepping up both in times of need and in times of great celebration, and the past year has been no different,” Doukeris added. “As we look ahead to brighter days with renewed optimism, we are proud to work alongside the White House to make a meaningful impact for our country, our communities and our consumers.”
“That’s right, get a shot and have a beer,” President Biden added. “Free beer for everyone 21 years or over to celebrate the independence from the virus.”