With the vaccines just days away from going out to millions of people in the US and around the world, a lot of leaders are thinking about how to incentivize the public to take the vaccine.
One Gallup poll found that 58% of Americans said they would take the vaccine, but that still leaves 42% of the country saying they won’t get it which is a lot of people.
One recent proposal comes from former congressman John Delaney and would require an individual to be vaccinated in order to receive a stimulus check.
The goal would be to reach a 75% vaccination rate quicker which would save lives and allow the economy to recover much faster.
“The faster we get 75 percent of this country vaccinated, the faster we end Covid and the sooner everything returns to normal,” Delaney said in an interview with CNBC.com.
This is obviously a pretty extreme idea.
But it is not as extreme as it might initially sound.
First, nobody would be forced to take the vaccine against their will.
“If you’re still afraid of the vaccine and don’t want to take it, that’s your right,” Delaney said. “You won’t participate in this program.
Second, providing individuals incentives for receiving vaccines is something done in other countries so it’s not without precedent.
The way that this plan would work is after an individual is successfully vaccinated they would receive a special number.
They would then input this number along with their Social Security number in order to initiate the process to receive a stimulus check.
The stimulus checks would be $1,500 and would cost the government about $380 billion. That is just over $100 billion more than the stimulus checks that went out back in the spring.
While I think something like this would be effective at motivating people to get vaccinated or at least look more into it, it creates a lot of issues.
One is that some people may have legit concerns about tolerating the side effects even if they are short-lived.
For example, you could imagine a frail 89-year-old individual who may struggle to tolerate flu like symptoms for 36 hours.
That individual would not receive stimulus check because of legitimate health concerns.
It doesn’t seem fair to essentially punish people for taking precautions for their health.
Then there is just the idea of mixing a stimulus check with a health related requirement.
While it is true that other countries reimburse people for vaccine compliance, it’s a totally different matter when you’re talking about stimulus aid during a pandemic.
That most likely will not be received by the public very well.
So while in theory an idea like this could accelerate the time it takes to get to herd immunity and get back to normal, I think a policy like this would cause too much of an uprising during a time when stability is needed above all else.
If there was a way to boost the amount you receive by getting a vaccination that might go over a little bit better but I think any attempt to require vaccination in exchange for government relief is going to cause a lot of people to oppose it.
UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.