More Than Nudges Are Needed to End the Pandemic
While this policy is well intentioned, I think it is wrong for a state or country to offer to pay individuals to be vaccinated. First, the amount could be taken as an indicator of what the government thinks a jab is worth. Certainly, the value to society of an increase in immunizations is well over $ 100 per person.
Second, it seems increasingly likely that one or more booster shots are needed for certain populations in the United States to cope with the Delta variant of the coronavirus – and, possibly, other variants as well. If that happens, we don’t want some people to procrastinate in the hope of getting paid. Government-sponsored booster injections are already starting in Israel and are in various stages of planning in several European countries.
An alternative model is offered by the National Football League, which has not asked players to be vaccinated but offers many incentives. Unvaccinated players must be tested daily, must be masked and away from teammates on flights, and must remain in their rooms until match day. Vaccinated players who test positive and asymptomatic can resume their duties after two negative tests 24 hours apart. But unvaccinated players must undergo a 10-day isolation period.
These incentives followed a long effort to educate players on the benefits to themselves, their families and other players. It’s hard to say which aspect of the NFL plan does the job, but over 90% of league players have received at least one jab. The fact that a team can lose a match because an unvaccinated player cannot play creates a powerful group dynamic.
The emphasis on teamwork is also part of the Cleveland-Cliffs Steel Company’s generous offer to its employees. Vaccinated employees receive a bonus based on the number of other people in their workplace who do the same. The company will pay vaccinated workers $ 1,500 if 75% of employees receive the vaccine, and $ 3,000 if the proportion reaches 85%. This focus on group vaccination rates reinforces the message that everyone benefits if more people get vaccines.
Many universities and companies like Walmart, Disney, Google, and Uber require employees to be vaccinated before returning to campus or to the office. New York City will require vaccinations for indoor restaurants, gyms and other activities. But pursuing such policies is needlessly difficult due to the archaic state of immunization records.
As anyone who has been vaccinated will know, the card you receive to document your snapshots looks like a handwritten library card from the 1950s and is too large to fit in a wallet. It is shocking to use this piece of paper as documentation for vaccines created with 21st century science.
#Nudges #Needed #Pandemic