Why Incentives Won’t Increase COVID-19 Vaccination Rates
From hot fries to cash, there are plenty of incentives to get Americans to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
In West Virginia, Governor Jim Justice proposes $ 100 Savings Bonds to young people who are vaccinated. Not to be outdone, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is offering fully vaccinated residents a chance to a million dollar lottery and full university scholarships. And in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a incentive promotion with Shake Shack as he awkwardly munched on a free burger and fries.
“Mmm, vaccinations,” he said between bites. “I have a very good impression of the vaccination right now.”
Gadgets certainly get attention, but will they work to get more gun hits? The short answer is no, according to Wharton management professor Iwan Barankay.
“I would love for the state of Pennsylvania to hand out $ 100 bills because any money people can use for consumption would be great for the economy, but they won’t be really effective in increasing vaccination rates,” he said in an interview. with Wharton Business Daily on SiriusXM. (Listen to the podcast at the top of this page.) “To increase immunization rates, we need to tackle the socio-economic barriers people face.”
“To increase immunization rates, we need to tackle the socio-economic barriers people face.” – Iwan Barankay
Barankay, who is also a professor of business economics and public policy, has spent years studying what works to encourage patients to take their medications. His last article on statin adherence was released earlier this month. Like many previous studies, this one also finds that financial incentives are not convincing for patients with complicated lives. Low income, inadequate housing, lack of transportation, caring for other household members, and the burden of chronic disease are all factors that can contribute to laxity.
Helping people on the margins
Incentives work best when designed to help people overcome behavioral issues of inattention or inconsistency – a bribe to produce a desirable short-term outcome. While this appears to be a perfect fit for the COVID-19 vaccine, Barankay has explained why this is not the case.
He said some people would get the vaccine no matter what, while others would never take it. Those in the middle are unlikely to be moved by the money because they are concerned about security. Barankay and other experts are most concerned about the “marginal” people who want the vaccine but cannot get it due to socio-economic barriers.
“Money is not enough to help them overcome all these other problems [and] go get vaccinated, ”he says. “We need to understand who these people are and what it will take to help them. They don’t really need to be convinced; they just need help in many other ways where they are having difficulty in their life. “
Dr David Asch, executive director of the Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation, said that while financial incentives work in some cases – like quitting smoking – they can backfire on the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Someone who is very suspicious of the vaccine might think, ‘They would never offer money if it was a good thing,'” he said in a statement. interview with the Association of American Medical Colleges.
He also underlined the difficulty for vulnerable populations.
“When it comes to incentives, not everyone is in the same boat. The pressure imposed by financial incentives is different depending on the population, ”he told the association. “A better approach is to try to reduce the barriers people face in getting vaccinated. Think about all those logistical, planning, and access issues that limit vaccine uptake. “
“The evidence just isn’t there to show that these incentives are helpful in convincing people to make healthy decisions.” – Iwan Barankay
About 40% of the U.S. population is now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, vaccination rates have been slowing down from their peak in April, prompting officials to find new ways to reach the unvaccinated. But Barankay said cash and other freebies were not the solution.
“The advantage of money is that you can do whatever you want with it,” he said. “It’s fungible. You can buy milk with it or pay your mortgage with it. But the evidence just isn’t there to show that these incentives are helpful in convincing people to make healthy decisions.