Coronavirus: 5 vaccinated United Airlines loyalty program members to win free flights for a year

Officials with United Airlines on Monday announced the launch of the airline’s “Your Shot to Fly” sweepstakes, which will award five vaccinated loyalty program members with a year’s worth of free flights for themselves and a companion.

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To enter, people who are members of the company’s MileagePlus program must upload their vaccination records to United’s mobile app or its website between Monday and June 22. On July 1, five randomly selected customers will win the sweepstakes’ grand prize of flights for a year “in any class of service, anywhere in the world United flies.”

The company is also giving away roundtrip tickets to 30 people who enter the sweepstakes, which is open to U.S. residents age 18 and older. Winners for the roundtrip tickets will be randomly selected in June, according to United.

>> Read the full sweepstakes rules from United

Airline officials said Monday that the sweepstakes is aimed at supporting the Biden administration’s push to get more Americans vaccinated nationwide.

“We’re proud to do our part to incentivize people to get their shot,” United CEO Scott Kirby said Monday in a statement. “Thanks to the vaccine, more and more destinations are opening up for travel – and we know our customers are eager to fly. 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.”

Health officials have been urging Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19, crediting people who have gotten the shot so far for a recently seen fall in the number of new illnesses being reported nationwide. On Friday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said the seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases had fallen below 30,000 for the first time since June 2020.

>> Related: Coronavirus: New COVID-19 cases fall to lowest levels since last June

As of Sunday, the last date for which data was available, just under 50% of the total U.S. population had gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines available, according to numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and prevention. About 39% of the population -- 130 million people -- have so far been fully vaccinated.

As of Monday morning, about 33.1 million COVID-19 cases have been reported across the country, resulting in nearly 590,000 deaths, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. Globally, 167.2 million COVID-19 cases have been reported, resulting in 3.4 million deaths.