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Cities, states are experimenting with vaccination incentives



States and cities are experimenting with offering incentives and benefits for residents to be vaccinated for COVID-19 as fears have heightened due to delayed vaccinations in the United States

Officials are turning to initiatives such as paying recipients of vaccines through savings bonds, free drinks or gift cards to motivate Americans to make their own COVID-19. Public health and psychology experts said these programs have the potential to attract more people willing to get the vaccine, and that the incentives are worth trying to fill the gap in vaccinations in the country.

This week, West Virginia is committed to giving those $ 16 to 35 who receive the vaccine $ 1

00 in savings to increase the number of vaccinations in the state. Gov. Jim Justice (R) said Monday that 52 percent of the state’s eligible population has received at least one dose, noting that the costs will be “so small” compared to what the state has spent and continues to spend on the pandemic.

Connecticut plans to take a different approach when launching its #CTDrinksOnUs campaign, which will allow vaccine recipients to be entitled to a free drink with food purchased between May 19 and 31 at participating locations.

Max Reiss, communications director for Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D), said the state’s beverage program arose when employees and the restaurant industry launched brainstorming sessions on how to achieve “herd immunity,” a point where greater part of the population is immunized against the virus.

The idea for the program is not “directly related” to the delay in vaccinations observed in the country and at the national level, Reyes said.

Asked if the beverage stimulant has the ability to bring the state to the point of immunity, he said: “We don’t think it hurts.”

“If there’s an added bonus that when you go to a restaurant, you can have a drink or beer, a glass of wine or soda, we think that’s a good sign to enjoy,” he said. “And that shows that if you’re vaccinated, you can do all these things safely.”

City and town governments are also exploring stimulating approaches to increase vaccinations, with Chicago working on two programs in which fully vaccinated people will have special access to summer events and special offers for services in salons and barbershops. Harris County, Texas, on Wednesday approved up to $ 250,000 to be used for gift cards, events and other incentives for vaccinated people, the Houston Chronicle reported.

As of Monday, Detroit is offering $ 50 prepaid debit cards to anyone who causes another person to get vaccinated, as long as they register in advance. Deputy Mayor Conrad Mallet said that through the program, officials hope that the votes of trust in the communities will be inspired to help other members decide to take COVID-19 and therefore increase the number of vaccinations in Detroit.

“Overcoming our inability to manage and win the controversy on social media, we really had to be more resourceful about how to get the attention of the bigger, bigger community,” he said.

Detroit officials have decided to give incentives to those who spend “time and effort” to help others get vaccinated instead of paying directly because of concerns about “ethics.”

“Vaccination is an important decision,” Mallet said. “And we didn’t want to try to obscure this decision-making process by trying to encourage people to do what we thought was right, but to pay them to do it.”

The impetus for the stimulus comes as the average number of vaccines administered daily in the United States has been declining in recent days, which experts attribute to declining demand for vaccines after enthusiastic recipients have already taken pictures.

The United States peaked its seven-day average daily vaccination on April 13 by 3.38 million, but that number has dropped to 2.63 million as of Thursday, according to Our World in Data.

Overall, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 55.4% of adult Americans have received at least one dose, and 39% are considered fully vaccinated, meaning that a large proportion of the population is still particularly susceptible to infection. virus.

William Schaffner, a professor of infectious diseases and preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said vaccinating most of the country’s population was important because it would “significantly reduce” the spread of COVID-19 and the impact of the options. .

“Everything we can do to encourage more people to be vaccinated, I think, is a good thing,” he said. “We will have to wait and see if these incentives work. I’m sure they will work with some people. There is no doubt about that, but whether they can really help us change the course remains to be seen. “

These state and local governments are taking out a page from the gaming books of some businesses, including Krispy Kreme, which offers a free donut every day from 2021 to Americans who prove they’ve shot themselves.

Experts say research shows that incentives can be effective in influencing health behavior, with Noel Brewer, a professor of health behavior at the University of North Carolina, saying the incentives are expected to increase vaccinations by about 8 percent.

“This idea of ​​letting people choose and empower freedom of choice can be quite appealing to people on the right and left, so that seems like a nice approach,” Brewer said.

This week in Michigan, the governor Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerCities, States Experiment with Incentives for Vaccinations Night Health: FDA Introduces Plan to Ban Menthol Cigarettes | Joe Rogan clarifies comments on vaccines Whiter links ease COVID-19 restrictions on vaccination levels in Michigan MORE (D) also presented a reopening plan that links the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions to increased vaccination levels. According to the plan, once the state documents that 70 percent of the eligible population has received at least one dose, its orders for masks and restrictions on public and private gatherings will be lifted.

Brewer said incentives are stronger when there is a “clear case between individual behavior and reward,” so Michigan should expect to see “less effect or perhaps no effect” than direct stimulus.

Austin Baldwin, an associate professor of psychology at Southern Methodist University, said that mandates can be “very effective” in general, but that when it comes to vaccinations, those who are resistant or hesitant may not respond well to vaccine requirements. if perceived as “threatening”.

“At least in the current context, incentives can be a more effective approach, because incentives at least still value this autonomy on a psychological level, and people can feel like they’re making that decision on their own,” Baldwin said.




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