Should cash prizes and other incentives be used to motivate people into taking the COVID vaccine?
By Sahithi Lingampalli, Anvitha Mattapalli, & Kavya Gurunath, Edited by Geethi Tarra, Cindy Zhang, & Arushi Patel, Art (money) by Nivi Chozhan, Layout by Sahithi Lingampalli, & Blogged by Kavya Gurunath
From free donuts offered at Krispy Kreme to $50,000 lotteries offered by the state of California, governments and companies across the USA have been offering cash prizes and other incentives to the people getting the COVID vaccine. However, should they be doing this?
by Sahithi Lingampalli
The US has lost over 16 trillion dollars (Cutler) from COVID-19 pandemic-related costs, which includes everything from obtaining personal protective equipment and vaccine doses to the general economy drop from the reduced jobs and downturn in spending. Unemployment was at 14.8% in April 2020, and even though it is at 6.1% now, finding jobs remains exceedingly difficult due to companies trying to save costs, as well as the firing to hiring ratios being high (Congressional Research Service). Many households face food shortages, overdue rent, and even the loss of an essential family member, leading to greater financial burdens. Although it may seem contradictory, the immense financial burden brought about due to the pandemic is why I believe that cash prizes should NOT be used to motivate people into taking the COVID vaccine.
Due to these financial troubles, states like California are giving away $1.5 million to 10 vaccine lottery winners, whereas other states like New Mexico are giving away $5 million as a grand prize (Dodd). Even though these prizes seem extremely useful to families that are struggling to survive in this pandemic, there is no way to distinguish these troubled families from ones that are well off. Everyone, despite their financial status, has an equally likely chance of being picked, and the families that need the money the most don’t get any extra names in the hat. This is why I believe that instead of using cash prizes to motivate people into taking the COVID vaccine, other incentives can be used. Krispy Kreme, for example, is giving one free donut every day when you show your vaccination card, and Indiana residents get one free box of Girl Scouts Cookies at their vaccination appointments.
The money that can be saved by NOT putting it into vaccination lotteries can instead be used towards COVID relief, which would better help families that are especially burdened. This way, the money will be guaranteed to go to a family or person who needs it the most.
Despite how beneficial winning the money would be, cash, prizes, or not, the vaccine shouldn’t be taken to win an incentive. It is meant to protect yourself, to protect others, and most importantly, to defeat COVID as a nation. Prizes are there as an added bonus, but they shouldn’t be the only reason to take the vaccine.
Cutler, D. M., Cutler, P. D. (2020, October 20). The COVID-19 Pandemic and the $16 Trillion Virus. JAMA. Retrieved from: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2771764#:~:text=The%20estimated%20cumulative%20financial%20costs,domestic%20product%20of%20the%20US.
Falk, G., Nicchitta, I., Romero, P., Nyhof, E., & Carter, J. (n.d.) Unemployment Rates During the COVID-19 Pandemic. (2021, June 15). Congressional Research Service. Retrieved from: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R46554.pdf
Dodd, S., & Puhak, J. (n.d.). How to Get the Best COVID-19 Vaccine Freebies and Incentives, from Food to Money to Sports Tickets. PEOPLE.com. https://people.com/health/covid-19-vaccine-freebies-incentives-rewards/.
by Anvitha Mattapalli
On May 25th, 2021, the US Federal Government allowed its states to provide incentives for receiving the Covid-19 vaccine in hopes that it would increase vaccination rates. Some of these incentives include a ticket in lotteries. While these incentives did improve vaccination throughout the country, they should not be used to motivate people into taking the Covid-19 vaccine.
Firstly, it’s unclear who should receive the money. Many people are more than willing to receive the vaccine, so paying them would ultimately be a waste of money. As per its purpose, the money should be offered to those who originally did not want to take the vaccine, but were financially motivated to take it. However, we cannot tell which people fall in which category. Someone could go to a vaccine center and claim that they are taking the vaccine only for the money when they were already motivated without it. Countries all over the world have already lost trillions of dollars due to the pandemic. They are not ready to increase these numbers for the sole purpose of vaccinating a few more people, as that will only make it harder for them to bounce back economically.
This is also an unfair usage of the money. Millions of people have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. On one hand, it’s unfair to give the government’s money to those who need a motivation boost for the vaccine instead of those who need the money for survival. On the other hand , people without jobs might feel obligated to take the vaccine in order to gain money.
This brings us to morality. How moral is it to pay someone to help the greater good? People need to understand that they play a role in society and accept the responsibility they have to ensure the health of themselves and other people. Paying people to do good only promotes the mentality of indifference. People won’t find the need to be kind or helpful out of nature when they can financially benefit from doing so. Not only does this result in major money loss, it causes less empathy and teamwork to solve some of society’s largest issues. It brings the idea that “this problem exists, but somebody else is going to take care of it instead of me”. That’s not how it works. Everybody needs to help in order for society to move forward, and they have to do it without the help of incentives.
Emily A. Largent, J. D. (2021, February 9). Problems With Paying People to Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19. JAMA. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2775005.
Groppe, M. (2021, May 26). Federal government gives OK for states to offer lotteries, cash incentives for vaccinations. USA Today. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2021/05/25/covid-vaccine-feds-ok-lotteries-cash-incentivesvaccinations/7436394002/.
by Kavya Gurunath
Cash prizes and other incentives should be used to motivate people into taking the COVID-19 vaccine. We have been living in this pandemic for over a year, and finally have a solution that could possibly bring an end to quarantine, social distancing, and rising COVID-19 cases. We all need to act now to bring this pandemic to an end.
Cash prizes and other incentives range from a free donut to million dollar payouts. States and private companies have started offering incentives for people who get the COVID-19 vaccine. For example, Krispy Kreme offers a free glazed donut to anyone with a vaccination card. On the state level, Ohio announced a state vaccine lottery to anyone getting the vaccine (Dickler, 2021). On June 10, 2021, the winner of one of California’s first “Vax for the Win” lottery won $50,000 (Bloom, 2021). I myself got a 20% off coupon to use with a CVS purchase after getting the first dose of the COVID vaccine.
The United States CDC says that about half of the population has had at least one shot of the COVID vaccination. However, the rate of people getting the vaccine has reduced throughout the United States (Dickler, 2021). Incentives are the key to getting the rate of people getting the vaccine increasing again. To effectively have herd immunity for COVID-19, we need to have 70% of people vaccinated (Watson, 2020). Herd immunity will slow the spread of the virus, so that the virus won’t spread as easily from person to person (Mayo Clinic, 2021). Herd immunity also helps protect the people who can’t get vaccinated by reducing the spread of COVID-19.
A bunch of states have said that vaccination rates have increased after incentives have been added. Ohio states that rates have doubled in some areas of the states after the state vaccine lottery was announced. Recent surveys have shown that the vaccine incentives might encourage some demographics to get the vaccine compared to others. One poll said that men are more likely to be motivated than women. Democrats are more likely to get the vaccine for the incentive than Republicans. Millennials are the generation most willing to get the vaccine for the incentive (Dickler, 2021).
Even if more demographics are more likely to get the vaccine, we still need as many people to get the vaccine as possible. If more people get the vaccine, not only are they protected, but they also protect others that could catch the virus. Overall, cash prizes and incentives seem to be working so far and they help the United States get closer to herd immunity.
Bloom, T. (2021, June 10). ‘Still in disbelief,’ says 1st California vaccine lottery winner to speak out; next draw for $50,000 prizes is Friday. KTLA 5. https://ktla.com/news/california/still-in-disbelief-california-vaccine-lottery-winner-speaks-out-ahead-of-fridays-draw-for-50000-prizes/
Dickler, J. (2021, June 1). Do vaccine incentives work? Krispy Kreme says giving away 1.5 million free doughnuts has helped. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/01/do-vaccine-incentives-work-krispy-kreme-says-freebies-have-helped.html
Mayo Clinic. (2021, June 9). Herd immunity and COVID-19 (coronavirus): What you need to know. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/herd-immunity-and-coronavirus/art-20486808#:%7E:text=Herd%20immunity%20occurs%20when%20a,just%20those%20who%20are%20immune
Watson, S. (2020, April 28). Coronavirus Immunity and Reinfection. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/lung/coronavirus-immunity-reinfection#1
Originally published at https://issuu.com.