MOBILE, Alabama (WALA) – With President Joe Biden’s announcement on Wednesday that the federal government will push the incentives, it’s clear that giveaways are going to be a key strategy in overcoming reluctance to the COVID-19 vaccine.
The president’s announcement comes a day after FOX10 News reported that the Mobile County Health Department is implementing its own incentive program. This program will rely on corporate donations for prizes such as a free restaurant meal or a chance to take a cruise.
The President’s program includes everything from free beer and childcare to sports tickets.
With the country far from the goal of a 70% vaccination rate – and Alabama even further – public officials have been cautious about issuing warrants. Instead, governments and health agencies are trying to spur participation by offering a little extra something, whether it’s a raffle for big bucks or free beer.
Dr Karen Landers, Alabama state assistant health official, said it might not take much to get people on board.
“We are really seeing that there are actually quite a few people who are absolutely not going to take the vaccine,” she said.
Almost 1.4 million people in Alabama are fully immunized. But the state ranks among the last in the country in terms of vaccination per capita. And people under the age of 50 are considerably less likely to have stepped forward.
This is the idea behind the incentives. Landers said state health officials are considering a range of options. She suggested that local governments take the initiative. She pointed to a recent mass vaccination clinic at the Talladega Superspeedway, where people who rolled up their sleeves had the chance to do two laps of the track in their cars or trucks.
“What you really need to look at is what works in a local community and what might be helpful in getting them to an immunization site, where they could get more information and go ahead and get it done. vaccinate, ”she said. “Again, we need a lot more people to immunize in Alabama than we currently have. “
It remains to be seen how successful the incentives will be.
“In fact, after talking to people in other states, I haven’t really seen huge numbers, but obviously some states have participated because people are interested in the incentives,” Landers said.
Ashley Krantz said she didn’t need a special incentive to get the shot. She said her motivation was to protect her grandfather, who lives in the same house. Would a cash reward or other prize work on her reluctant friends?
“It’s a shame, but yes,” she said. “I could definitely see some people doing it for the money or the financial side, because apparently someone’s life is not enough. But yes, it’s a shame but for my generation, yes, it would definitely do the trick.
Kranz’s friend Nerizza Angeles was one of the first people to get the vaccine since working as a healthcare worker. She said she felt a responsibility since she works in the neonatal intensive care unit.
“They are very immunosuppressed,” she said. “They literally have no immune system.”
Samantha Anselmo, who teaches at the University of Southern Alabama, said the school offers its own incentive. Teachers received $ 25 gift cards if they got vaccinated. She said she hopes wider incentives will increase participation. But she added that they wouldn’t work for everyone.
“My parents are two of those people who just don’t care,” she said. “And I don’t think there is an incentive that would make them care about it.”
Landers said the virus is dangerous – even for young people who are least likely to die.
“The main incentive (to get vaccinated) is the personal benefit you receive from getting vaccinated to reduce your risk of COVID disease,” she said.
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