United offers vaccinated travelers big perks

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United Airlines is incentivizing passengers to get the COVID-19 vaccine by offering them a chance to win free flights. 

The move from United is to support efforts by President Biden to encourage more people to get inoculated, the carrier announced Monday. 

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UALUNITED AIRLINES HOLDINGS55.98+0.68+1.23%

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As part of the "Your Shot to Fly" sweepstakes, MileagePlus members who upload their vaccination records to United's mobile app or website through June 22 are eligible to win a roundtrip flight for two passengers "to anywhere in the world United flies," the airline said. 

A United Airlines passenger pushes a luggage cart past closed check-in kiosks at San Francisco International Airport on July 8, 2020, in San Francisco, Calif. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The carrier will give away 30 pairs of tickets throughout the month of June. On July 1, five rewards members will receive free flights for an entire year for themselves and another passenger. 

"Thanks to the vaccine, more and more destinations are opening up for travel – and we know our customers are eager to fly," United CEO Scott Kirby said. "We're excited to give people one more reason to get vaccinated so they can reunite with friends and family or take that long-awaited vacation which all could be just one shot away." 

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United, however, is far from the only company urging Americans to roll up their sleeves. 

Other businesses are offering free beer, marijuana, doughnuts and all-terrain vehicles to further encourage Americans to get vaccinated. 

Public health officials say the efforts are crucial to reach people who haven’t been immunized yet, whether because they are hesitant or because they have had trouble making an appointment or getting to a vaccination site.

"This is the way we put this pandemic in the rearview mirror and move on with our lives," said Dr. Steven Stack, Kentucky’s public health commissioner.

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The biggest incentive, however, may be the fact that fully vaccinated Americans have been given the green light to shed their masks outdoors and in most indoor settings, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s latest guidance. 

"Get vaccinated — or wear a mask until you do," Biden said earlier this month in addressing the new guidance. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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