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Biden Calls on All States to Offer Significant Cash Incentives to the Newly Vaccinated

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Get a shot; get a Benjamin.

That’s the pitch President Joe Biden wants all state governments to give Americans as a way to increase the number of people getting the coronavirus vaccine.

Biden on Thursday announced his call for a $100 cash prize to anyone stepping right up and getting a vaccination as part of his approach to reining in the spread of the virus.

“I know that paying people who get vaccinated might sound unfair to folks who got vaccinated already,” he said, according to USA Today.

“But here’s the deal: If incentives help us beat this virus, I believe we should use them. We all benefit if we can get more people vaccinated.”


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The Treasury Department on Thursday promoted cash incentives as a great use of the $350 billion doled out to state and local governments in the American Rescue Plan, the department said in a statement on its website.

“Programs that provide incentives reasonably expected to increase the number of people who choose to get vaccinated, or that motivate people to get vaccinated sooner than they otherwise would have, are an allowable use of funds so long as such costs are reasonably proportional to the expected public health benefit,” the department’s statement read.

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“Today, the President is calling on state, territorial, and local governments to provide $100 payments for every newly vaccinated American, as an extra incentive to boost vaccination rates, protect communities, and save lives,” the statement continued.

“Treasury stands ready to give technical assistance to state and local governments so that they may use the funds effectively to support increased vaccination in their communities, and Treasury will partner with the Department of Health and Human Services throughout this effort.”

Biden’s call for Americans to be paid for getting pricked came as part of a wide-ranging plan that included a requirement that federal workers either be vaccinated or be tested often, wear masks on the job and be socially distant.

A White House fact sheet said Biden was scaling up a strategy that has already shown results.

“When the grocery store Kroger started offering $100 to their associates to get vaccinated, it saw vaccination rates increase from 50% to 75%,” the fact sheet read.


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“States like New Mexico, Ohio, and Colorado have piloted $100 incentive programs that have also helped move the dial on vaccinations. According to research from the University of California, Los Angeles, roughly one-third of unvaccinated individuals said a cash payment would make them more likely to get a shot.”

So how much would this cost in say, New York City? According to rough numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a population of 8.4 million people, 20.8 percent of whom are under 18 years old. The New York City Health Department estimates that 29 percent of adults are not vaccinated, or slightly over 500,000 people.

That means that if every adult not yet vaccinated in NYC were to get the shot, a $100 prize per person would cost one city over $50 million, but since the money comes out of the funding from the American Rescue Plan, local taxpayers would not feel a bite.

Political figures accustomed to altering behavior for campaign cash expect everyday folks to do the same.

“I think when someone says here’s $100 for you, that’s going to make a big impact,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said, according to The New York Times. The Democrat has confirmed that $100 vaccine incentives will be offered in the city beginning Friday.

Others are not so sure the money is a good idea.

Dr. Elisa Sobo, an anthropologist at San Diego State University, said forking over $100 can’t hurt vaccination rates, but may not be a magic solution, either.

“Some folks will find the offer insulting; others will use it as ‘proof’ that the vaccine is no good,” she said.

“There are lots of people who will say ‘why not’ to $100. Some people who have until now been on the fence will see $100 as a good reason to get off of it.”

Meanwhile, Twitter was ablaze over the idea.

Biden’s proposal comes on the heels of the variety of incentives already offered by several states to those who get vaccinated, including an offer from Alabama that lets drivers get their cars out on the famed Talladega Superspeedway.

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