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Would hesitant people get the COVID vaccine if they receive cold hard cash in return?

money for vaccines
Photo via 401(K) 2012/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Millions of Americans are still unvaccinated against COVID-19, despite broad efforts by experts and the federal government to get shots into arms. A broad swathe of the American public remains hesitant, or outright opposed, to the vaccine. In an effort to convince these hesitant parties, researchers are examining the potential of offering money in exchange for getting the vaccine.

Efforts to convince hesitant Americans to get their vaccines have seen mixed results.

A number of recommendations, from providing data to sharing personal stories, have been used in an effort to reach enough Americans to slow the pandemic in the United States. The offer of a financial incentive appears to be the most effective method yet recommended, according to several recent randomized surveys conducted by the UCLA COVID-19 Health and Politics Project. 

Approximately one-third of participants said an offer of money would make them more likely to get the vaccine. West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice recently announced plans from the state to offer a $100 incentive to young people getting their shot.

Rowan University in New Jersey, meanwhile, is offering even more. Full-time students who show proof of vaccination before Aug. 7 will get a $500 credit toward their tuition, and students living on-campus will receive another $500 credit toward their housing. Part-time students will also receive money for proof of a vaccine, pro-rated based on the number of courses they aim to pursue in the fall.

The UCLA project involved more than 75,000 participants. The study examined a number of potential incentives, from an endorsement from public figures to information campaigns. Offering money for vaccines was the most effective method, particularly among Democrats. Forty-five percent of Democrats said they were more likely to get vaccinated if a $100 payment was offered.

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Sources: New York Times, NJ.com


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