New study: People are more willing to get vaccinated with cash incentive

Coronavirus Vaccine

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – A recent study done by UCLA reveals that cash incentives, such as $100 payments, could persuade more people to get a vaccine. 

In the survey, about one-third of unvaccinated people said cash payments would make them more likely to get the COVID-19 shot.

Doctors say providing cash incentives to motivate health behavior isn’t anything new and has been successful in the past. 

With this new study, the pattern seems to hold true when it comes to the pandemic as well.

Already, we’re seeing other states provide everything from free beer to payments to motivate unvaccinated people to get their shots.

A recent survey done by the UCLA COVID-19 health and politics project reveals unvaccinated people are more likely to get the COVID-19 shot with one of two incentive options.

The UCLA study interviewed more than 75,000 unvaccinated people and about one-third of them said a cash payment as much as $100 would make them more likely to get the vaccine.

“It is not a surprising result. We’ve used cash incentives believe it or not in other settings, encouraged folks to do sexually transmitted infection screenings and some other interventions so they do work,” Dr. Peter Chin-Hong said.

The survey also found much more willing to get the vaccine if doing so meant they wouldn’t have to wear a mask or remain socially distant at events.

Infectious disease specialist at UCSF, Dr. Peter Chin-Hong says these findings show that public health leaders need to be ready and prepared to offer several options for those straddling the line on willingness to get the vaccine.

“It’s not one size fits all. I think cash incentives may appeal to some. To others, it may mean that their friends are going to Outside Lands and they need a vaccine to get in, and maybe that might be the incentive. For others it might be the vaccinated section at the Giants game seem to have a little more liberties than the unvaccinated section,” Chin-Hong said.

In San Francisco, more than 91% of the population received at least one dose of the vaccine and almost 50% of the state has received at least one dose.

Meanwhile, other states are incentivizing COVID-19 vaccinations with everything from free beer to $100 payments.

For example, West Virginia is offering $100 savings bonds to 16 to 35-year-olds who get vaccinated and Maryland will pay fully vaccinated state employees $100. 

Some breweries in New Jersey are also giving out free drinks while Connecticut and Washington, D.C. are doing something similar.

Even large companies like Krispy Kreme who offered free donuts with proof of vaccination in March are getting involved.

“So vital that we all get vaccinated. We need to get it done right now because the longer they wait, the more the chance of variants locally,” Chin-Hong said.

Experts say these sorts of incentives would probably only work for those who fall somewhere in between being eager to get the vaccine and those opposed to getting the vaccine.

Meanwhile, U.S. Census Bureau data shows that under 15% of adults in the U.S. identify as vaccine-hesitant.

This is certainly the population where such incentives wouldn’t work and probably alienate them even more from getting the shot.

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