(CNN) — While Krispy Kreme offers free donuts to people vaccinated against COVID-19, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine offers something that may be sweeter than donuts: money, a lot of money.
The state will give away millions of dollars to vaccinated adults and full scholarships to children who get vaccinated through special lotteries.
On social media, DeWine’s announcement was met with high praise and howls of outrage. But in fact, it is just one and perhaps the most extreme of efforts by governments, employers, sports teams and others to motivate more people to get vaccinated.
Will those incentives work?
In theory, yes, according to a survey. In a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 47% of people surveyed who say they want to “wait and see” before getting vaccinated said they would be more likely if they were given paid time off. 39% said a $ 200 financial incentive from their employer would work.
Anecdotal evidence also suggests that incentives can be effective, depending on the type.
Jessy Patterson was in no rush to get vaccinated against COVID-19, she said. “I am very fortunate to have no underlying conditions and I am only 36 years old,” said Patterson, events and communications coordinator for the Acworth, Georgia Department of Parks and Recreation.
So the city offered a $ 200 Walmart gift card to employees who got vaccinated, and the offer had a time limit: You had to go get the shot before the end date or they wouldn’t give you the card, Patterson said.
“It definitely made me get vaccinated faster,” he said.
And, for the Paterson employer, it made sense to offer that $ 200 gift card as an incentive, city manager Brian Bulthuis said.
«If someone is vaccinated, they don’t get sick. That saves us money ”because you don’t have to take time off work, said Bulthuis.
Many other employers They apparently made the same decision, most at the beginning of the vaccination process.
Free time and cash as incentives to get vaccinated against covid-19
Some employers are offering paid time off to hourly workers who get vaccinated, including discount grocery chain Aldi (four hours), yogurt maker Chobani (three hours for each dose of vaccine), and Dollar General (four hours). .
“It’s simple, it’s fair and it’s the right thing to do”, He said at LikedIn Peter McGuinness, President and COO of Chobani.
Others offer cash. Bolthouse Farms employees get a $ 500 bonus if they show proof that they were vaccinated, reported the Wall Street Journal. The company also hosts vaccination clinics at its facilities every week.
The discount supermarket Lidl offers an extra $ 200 payment, and JBS Foods offered a $ 100 bonus to “any member of the American team who is willing to receive the vaccine.”
Bulthuis estimates that about 60% of Acworth employees are vaccinated, and “maybe about one in three probably wouldn’t be” without the gift card incentive.
Health experts have said the country needs at least 70% of the population to be vaccinated, and perhaps even as high as 85%, to achieve herd immunity, when the spread of Covid-19 can be drastically reduce.
As of this Wednesday afternoon, 46.4% of the population had received at least one dose of the vaccine and 35.4% were fully vaccinated. However, the vaccination rate peaked at more than three million doses in April. Now the enthusiasm appears to be waning, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The percentage of people who say they will definitely not get vaccinated stood at 13%, unchanged from a previous survey. Meanwhile, the percentage of those who will get vaccinated only if required has dropped from 7% to 6%.
Ohio lotteries to incentivize vaccination
In Ohio’s plan, winners of five future lotteries will win $ 1 million each if vaccinated, DeWine said.
To enter the sweepstakes, Ohioans must be at least 18 years old. Other drawings will be held for youth ages 12 to 17, and winners will receive full scholarships, DeWine said.
“I know some of you are now shaking your head and saying ‘That Mike DeWine is crazy! This idea of raffling a million dollars is a waste of money. But really, the real waste at this point in the pandemic – when the vaccine is readily available to anyone who wants it – the real waste is a life now lost to COVID-19, “said DeWine.
The lottery is designed as a “regret lottery,” which is more popular than the more common ones, said George Loewenstein, professor of economics and psychology at Carnegie Mellon University and co-director of its Center for Behavioral Decision Research.
Participants do not decide to join, they are simply included in the draw. If they win but do not meet the requirements – which in this case is to be vaccinated – they often regret it.
“These kinds of lotteries are wildly popular, much more popular than traditional lotteries, because people are so afraid of regret,” Loewenstein said.
“He’s very smart,” Loewenstein said, “both parts, the adult version and the children’s version.”
Offering money can backfire
However, monetary incentives for vaccines can generally be counterproductive, said the professor, because they send a signal that “this is something you might not want to do for yourself if it weren’t for the money they are offering you.” .
And in the case of West Virginia, which is offering $ 100 savings bonds to residents ages 16 to 35 who get vaccinated against COVID-19, “that doesn’t just hurt West Virginia,” Loewenstein said. “In fact, it does more damage outside of West Virginia.”
People in other states will think “it shouldn’t be in my interest to get the vaccine, and besides, they won’t even give me $ 100,” Loewenstein said.
And people outside of West Virginia may be reluctant to get vaccinated on time, thinking their state will make an offer similar to that, Loewenstein said.
So somehow though, little things like a free beer are enough to win people over.
Resurgence Brewing Company in Buffalo, New York, hosted a vaccination event last weekend where they gave out a free beer to those getting vaccinated. More people were vaccinated at the event than went “to all the other pop-up clinics in Erie County all week,” Ben Kestner, director of operations at the brewery, told CNN.
Last week, President Joe Biden set a new goal for the country: to have at least 70% of all American adults received at least one dose by the Fourth of July.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism