Garden State residents now have some liquid incentive to get vaccinated against the coronavirus if they haven’t done so already. 

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) on Monday announced a statewide initiative that offers a free beer to those who receive a COVID-19 shot in May. So far, 13 breweries are participating in the “Shot and a Beer” program, which is applicable to residents ages 21 and older who present a valid vaccination card.

Additional locations are likely to join the program in the coming weeks.  

“We’re not going to be afraid to try new things,” Murphy said at a Monday press briefing. “It’s the only reason I regret waiting to get my first shot. That’s all I can say.”

The “Shot and a Beer” program is being rolled out as part of “Operation Jersey Summer,” aimed at spurring COVID-19 vaccinations across the state. At the briefing, Murphy doubled down on his previously stated goal of having 4.7 million fully vaccinated residents ― or 70% of his state’s eligible population ― by June 30.  

“Over the next eight weeks, we are going to be doing everything we can to make sure that every New Jerseyan recognizes that the vaccines in our toolbox are safe and that they’re effective,” he said. “We’re going to do everything to make sure that everyone understands that our ability to end this pandemic and to get our economy and our communities back up and fully running again requires all of us to keep working together and getting vaccinated.”

New Jersey isn’t the first state to enact such an initiative. Last week, Connecticut announced “CT Drinks on Us,” offering vaccinated residents a free drink of their choice at participating restaurants. In West Virginia, residents ages 16 to 35 can receive a $100 savings bond once they present proof of vaccination.  

As of Monday, a total of 3.1 million people had reportedly been fully vaccinated in New Jersey. Demand for the jabs across the state, however, has declined sharply as of late, reflecting the national trend. 

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