By Allison Markman
New York City, New York
Due to recent declining COVID-19 vaccination rates, numerous states are creating incentives for people to get vaccinated.
About 63% percent of Americans have received their first doses of the vaccine, but vaccination rates are declining, as the people who have yet to get their shot are more hesitant to do so.
To combat this hesitation, many states are introducing prizes for those who get vaccinated. For example, in New York, those who get their first doses after May 25 are eligible to win free tickets to the New York City Football Club, Liberty Island, the Bronx Zoo and more.
Another prize was a “Vax and Scratch” promotion that offered free lottery scratch-off tickets to those who got their vaccines at a New York State site. The grand prize was $5 million.
Ohio is offering educational incentives. They announced five full-tuition scholarships to any in-state university for 12- to 15-year-olds who have gotten the vaccine. Scholarships are also being used as incentives in New York and Delaware.
Ohio is also giving one Ohioan $1 million a week. This program will continue for five weeks.
Illinois is offering 50,000 free tickets to Six Flags Great America to newly vaccinated residents.
This June, President Joe Biden announced a “month of action” to attempt to get more Americans vaccinated before the Fourth of July. Biden believes that more shots in arms are necessary to help the U.S. return to normalcy this summer. He hopes for “a summer of freedom, a summer of joy, a summer of get togethers and celebrations. An All-American summer.”
To encourage vaccinations, the Biden administration is using both public and private partnerships. Biden said he was “pulling out all the stops” to achieve his goal of at least partially vaccinating 70% of the population. One of these incentives is from brewing company Anheuser-Busch, which said it would buy Americans 21 or older a round of beer if they achieved this goal by July 4.
Some have criticized this form of persuasion to get people vaccinated. A cartoon in The Washington Post suggested that encouraging people to get vaccinated with money, food or tickets is unnecessary and that people should be motivated to get vaccinated by the fact that the vaccine saves lives.
A survey conducted by the U.C.L.A. COVID-19 Health and Politics Project found that about one-third of the unvaccinated population said a monetary reward would make them more likely to get the vaccine. The other impactful incentive is that of normalcy. People want to see friends and family and no longer have to wear masks.