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New day, new incentive. How countries around the world are incentivising citizens to get vaccinated for covid-19: a great strategy.

People around the world are being incentivised. What for? Well, incentives to get vaccinated.

Hard to believe right?

Trust me, it is hard to believe for anyone but is actually completely true. Remember the time when we all were locked inside our homes hoping for a miracle to happen to save us from the pandemic? Well, the vaccines came as a miracle to us. They were introduced to protect people from the virus but after the introduction of the vaccine, a huge share of the population didn’t show their faith in it.

Blame the widely spread misinfodemic for it, but it surely created a lot of problems. Today, many governments are providing incentives to their people to get them vaccinated. The incentives range from small cash payments to a tesla, which is very expensive. The incentives vary from country to country. Why this is happening and was it necessary or not, we will find out everything in this article.

When did the COVID-19 vaccines start to roll out?

moderna begins testing covid-19 vaccine on babies and young children - bbc news

The vaccines started to roll out in December 2020 after all the testing stages were cleared. However, the government failed to build up confidence among the people for the vaccines. Moreover, the misinfodemic spread so fast that it led to distrust among the people for the vaccine. The people were not ready to get vaccinated as they feared that it may impact their health. In our country, the misinfodemic was spread so widely that only a few people were ready to get vaccinated while the others believed that it is harmful to us.

The people who were first wishing for the vaccine to come are now running away from it, quite an irony, right? This distrust was the sole reason behind the subsequent failure of the vaccine and therefore it led the countries to now provide incentives to their people to get vaccinated.

Incentives

Various countries are giving out various incentives to their people with the same motive- to persuade them to get vaccinated. Hong Kong is giving out the flashiest incentives of them all- a Tesla, an apartment in the world’s most expensive housing market, gold bars or a diamond Rolex or a $10,000 shopping spree. In Russia, Putin is giving away snowmobiles to people in order to get them vaccinated.

The incentives are not always this big. In France and Athens, the vaccination is your ticket to a bar or restaurant. In the country of Prague, you can get an iPhone if you get jabbed. However, some countries have instead been rough to their people rather than providing them with any beneficial incentive. In those countries, a jab is the only way for you to keep a job. As governments are trying their best to get their people vaccinated, the carrot and stick approach seems to be the only way out.

The value of incentives range from small cash payments and phone recharges to huge $1.4 million apartments and gold bars. These are the carrots. However, with the rise in the COVID-19 cases among the people due to the arrival of new Delta variant of the virus, which threatens to impose another round of lockdowns and with countries like Myanmar, Thailand, India, France, the United States and UAE witnessing a rise in the cases of Corona Virus again, many countries have introduced sticks.

why paying people to be vaccinated could backfire - the new york times

In the start, the only incentive you could get by getting jabbed was an Instagram sticker. However, with the passage of time and the concerning slow rate of vaccination, the incentives have peaked up to a Tesla or an expensive apartment or even a snowmobile. In the United States, the incentives are different but the motive behind the process is the same- to get people vaccinated. In West Virginia, people can score lifetime hunting licenses and hunting rifles, and in Alabama, people get to drive at a speedway track, all of this just to get vaccinated. US President Joe Biden has called for states to offer bills of $100 to anyone who gets their first jab.

Similarly, if a person living in Ohio whose age is between 12 and 17 gets a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, he can get a one-in-five chance of getting a four year scholarship including tuition, room and board and books to any Ohio state college or university.

Talking about India, a Chennai based foundation is providing lucky draws with prices such as gold coins, washing machines and bikes to anyone who gets vaccinated. Bihar is reported to opting for this incentive policy in order to reduce hesitancy among its people. A village in Arunachal has been offering free rice to anyone who turns up to the inoculation drive.

However, carrots are not the only way out. The number of daily cases is on the rise ever since the new Delta variant started to spread. It is far more transmissible than any other variant and is more fatal, hence increasing the importance of getting vaccinated. But when the incentives don’t work, the government is using sticks- disincentives.

A week ago, France’s parliament passed a law that requires a health pass showing proof of negative RT-PCR test or vaccination proof in order to enter restaurants, bars and on long distance journeys, which will start in August. The health will further extend to further services, as much as possible. French President Emmanuel Macron hinted that they might make the vaccination mandatory for everyone in the upcoming months if the epidemic worsens.

incentive

Greece is witnessing a spike in the new COVID-19 cases due to which their tourism is suffering which has forced them to tighten their laws. They barred the entry of unvaccinated people in their restaurants, bars, café and movie theatres. Moreover, the workers working in the homes for the elderly have until 16 August to get vaccinated or else they will have to face suspension. For the healthcare workers, it will be mandatory to get the shot of the COVID-19 vaccine as of September 1.

Italy, which earlier mandated the vaccine shot for the healthcare workers and pharmacy workers, further announced on July 22 that they will impose similar restrictions on its residents too who live without proof of immunity.

Are these carrots and sticks actually helping?

The rapid rise in the rollout of vaccines after the introduction of incentives in Hong Kong is direct evidence of the benefit that they are providing. However, the incentives in Ohio did not provide any evidence Ohio for boosting the vaccination rates. Rather, the vaccination rate slowed down in Ohio in recent weeks. However, experts have claimed that even if these incentives do not benefit the country, they are worth trying.

Talking about the disincentives, the effect of France’s new mandate was very huge- nearly 9,26,000 people made an appointment online to get vaccinated. Similar results were seen in Italy, where 68 per cent of the people favoured allowing only fully vaccinated people to enter into restaurants, bars and other public places.

However, only disincentives are not healthy, as people will feel forced and trapped. There should be a combination between incentives and disincentives in order to vaccinate the world and therefore fight the Corona Virus. Better days will come too, with no COVID-19 cases but for that, people need to get vaccinated.

Edited by Aishwarya Ingle

Simerleen Kaur

Talk to me about economics, trade, and all things India.

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