Vax incentives that would really move the needle
To boost Covid vaccinations and overcome resistance and hesitancy, many jurisdictions are “incenting,” to borrow the business buzzword bingo lingo.
New Jersey offers a beer with a shot, like Clint Eastwood orders as he bellies up to a Wild West saloon bar. Maryland state employees get $100. West Virginia bribes Gen Z and Millennials with a $100 savings bond. Los Angelinos take home a sack of fresh produce. In Detroit, if you drive someone to a vaccine site you get a $50 prepaid debit card. In Washington, D.C., the Republican Senate promises you’ll never get the vote, shot or not.
Experts are skeptical the carrot v. stick approach works with the stubbornly idiotic unvaxxed. The incentives might only reinforce shot resistance — if you need to be paid to do it, you don’t wanna do it. Like “ wastewater treatment professional,” aka sewer worker like Ed Norton in “The Honeymooners,” among many if not most other jobs.
The problem is that the vax incentives lack imagination.
You have to dangle a carrot the donkeys really want. With all due respect, looking at America objectively, it’s not fresh produce.
So below, I offer just 10 of the 200 brilliant ideas that came to mind after my tenth beer to celebrate my vaccination completion. As I slurred to my bartender (recognizing it’s a problem that I have my own bartender), I think the politicians could really give the vax effort a “shot in the arm,” hahaha, get it? these ways:
1.Warn that a giant swarm of murder cicadas is bursting from underground but they only attack the non-vaxxed and feast on victims alive until they die a slow, painful, agonizing, gruesome death.
(Still waiting for my agent to shop this movie pitch; I’m fine with an Oscar-winning Apple TV+ streaming series if I get to cast, meet, and strike a special connection with Scarlett Johansson just to make Colin Jost respect me not just as a man, but as a writer.)
2. Facebook promises if 90 percent of America is vaxxed, it’ll banish Trump forever like Twitter did and a grateful nation shall rejoice shouting huzzah! on Facebook and Twitter.
3. Getting enough people to vax is the only way that together, with our combined spirit power, we can cast out the evil spell that shrank Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter.
While we’re at it, could we also slay the hellish demon that brought 25 seasons of “The Bachelor”? And also whoever made it torturous to choose a beer from the 253 independent local breweries, starting with the highly rated, deliciously citrus, smooth and hoppy IPA named, “We Couldn’t Think Up An Awesome Name.”
4. Offer free forever Disney+! (“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”!) Or HBO Max! (“Mare of Easton”!) Or Netflix! (“Warrior Nun”!)
Better yet, for the gents married for 25 years and deeply devoted to their loving spouses, free Pornhub!
Let these content providers enriched by the pandemic quarantining give something back.
5. If you get a vax, Jerry Seinfeld himself will issue cease-and-desist orders to anyone you name who is still quoting his show, which went off the air 23 years ago. Yadda yadda yadda? No, nada nada nada!
It’s like your irritating granduncle still quoting Ralph Kramden in “The Honeymooners,” “To the moon, Alice!” Even worse, “Hamina hamina hamina hamina.”
6. Pay the so-called “Q” $100 million to spread the conspiracy theory on the Dark Web that anti-vax is a liberal Deep State plot to keep spreading Covid and killing true American patriots in Trump Country.
It wouldn’t hurt that Q would be compromised by the Deep State for taking the money, now would it?
7. Speaking of Trump Country, if 50 percent get their shots, then smart, strong, accomplished women they despise, starting with AOC and “The Squad,” Nancy Pelosi, Kamala Harris, Hillary Clinton, Maxine Waters, Rachel Maddow, Greta Thunberg and House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney, would pledge to wear t-shirts for the entire next Women’s History Month saying, “STRAIGHT WHITE DEPLORABLE MAGA MEN WITH ZZ TOP BEARDS, AR-15s AND MAN BOOBS ROCK ME!”
8. For Nervous Nellie libs who don’t want any unnatural corporate “chemicals” in their bodies but welcome natural corporate chemicals; swallow Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s, wholly debunked anti-vaccine propaganda crusade that revived and spread measles; and boringly yawp deep dark conspiracy theories about the evil greedy Big Pharma when the truth isn’t bad enough; here’s a deal:
If you hold-out libs agree to vax, we’ll find a find a way to wipe that smug, repulsive rictus off Tucker “Goebbels” Carlson’s face. I hear Cosa Nostra is looking for new “business opportunities,” just sayin’ not just sayin’.
9. A burger for a shot. Before Joe Biden’s federal Climate Agents in Nazi bucket helmets and black storm-trooper uniforms rappel down from their hovering black helicopters, pin law-abiding burger grillers to the ground using deliberate and excessive pain techniques and unauthorized neck restraints, and cause a “medical incident during police interaction,” aka, death, after the burger grillers say 20+ times “I can’t breathe.”
A significant number of vax resisters would agree, “My burgers are to die for, but not that way!”
10.Stupidest idea of all: Appeal to reason, common sense, common cause, and care for loved ones, community and country.
Suggesting people vax out of an enlightened and truest sense of patriotism and e pluribus unum above ornery, selfish personal politics makes me the idiot, not the anti-vaxxers.
All that said, sadly, I regret, I coulda been a contender for a free beer, a $50 savings bond that would mature in 20 years and be worth $55 and fund my lavish retirement lifestyle in perpetuity, and some fresh, delicious and rock-hard Southern California avocados.
Instead of just getting a free J&J shot, like a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it.
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer.