Paying People to Get Vaccinated Dismisses the Importance of COVID-19

Paying People to Get Vaccinated Dismisses the Importance of COVID

US Army National Guard Captain Brendan Mackie

Wearing a mask is part of the debate. Is it worth it to receive money for getting the vaccine to potentially become a maskless society again? Photo courtesy of the US Army National Guard Captain Brendan Mackie.

As most of us know, whether or not someone should get vaccinated is a very controversial subject. Many people question the health risks, advantages, disadvantages, and whether they should be required or not.

But what the majority of the public doesn’t realize is that some unvaccinated Americans can become persuaded by the amount of money they would receive. In a study by the UCLA COVID-19 Health and Politics Project, the respondents were asked whether they’d be more or less willing to receive the vaccine based on the amount of money they’d be offered. When offered $25, only 28 percent said they’d be more likely to get the vaccine, whereas 15 percent said they’d be less likely. When offered $50, the number jumped to 31 percent, and 17 percent said they wouldn’t. But when offered $100, the number rose to 34 percent, with only 15 percent saying they’d be less likely to get the vaccine. Though the difference between these numbers is marginal, it is a difference. This proves that incentives impact people’s decision on whether they get the vaccine or not.

But what we want to know is whether it’s the right choice. Is it reasonable? Will it make a noticeable impact? Will the number of people that will become vaccinated if offered money impact whether we can come out of lockdown? What does this mean for the general public?

Take it from a relative of mine. She was offered a $100 gift card to Walmart right after she received her shot. However, she never kept the money for herself.

 “It’s wrong to incentivize something that should be a personal choice for your own body,” Kristen Kozub said. “I didn’t accept it for myself. I gave the gift card to a homeless man. The incentive had nothing to do with getting the vaccine for me. I got it so I could go to events.”

She brings up a valid point. The idea that you can convince people into getting the COVID-19 vaccine by offering them money is a discussion in itself. Is that humane? If they need that $100, is it worth getting something that they don’t want to receive these finances? What if they’re completely against the idea, but they need the money?

The results show that this method is effective in getting people to accept the vaccine. However, making these people add something to their physical body out of desperation is not worth it. It shouldn’t be something you get rewarded for. Instead, it should be a choice that individuals choose themselves and not based on their monetary needs. They should receive it because they want to protect themselves and others, not because they need the finances.

When it comes from someone who was already offered the $100, you know that there has to be some reasoning against it. Many opinions arise from being offered money to accept free protection from a virus. People who want to benefit society and protect themselves and their families and friends may not want to be paid to do it, and rather it be simply an act of goodwill.

The reason for getting paid to get the vaccine has obvious benefits. More people will want to get it, and more people will be interested now that they will receive something spendable.

So the question remains. Is it worth it? Is it worth it to our government or any of the health organizations providing vaccines?

I would say that it isn’t. If it’s persuading people to get the vaccine because they’ll accept some financing, that’s barely even a choice. Some would go as far as to say that it’s bribing. If the monetary value of receiving it is the thing that’s convincing you to make decisions based on your health, the money shouldn’t even factor in. 

The decision to get vaccinated should be an open, free choice– one with the only benefit being that you’re protecting yourself, your friends, and your family. The society we live in may be so focused on what’s best for you, but honestly, the vaccine is more about others. Protecting the lives of everyone you interact with daily will be a much faster way to end this pandemic. Then, those people will also be shielded, and the cycle continues until we have a COVID-free America.

But all of that starts with the people’s choice. The money offered isn’t the best way to persuade the masses to become vaccinated. The real ticket to eliminating this virus is getting everyone dedicated to the cause to accept this gift. And that choice shouldn’t be determined by what’s in their bank accounts.