Countries Are Using Money and Beer to Incentivise Covid Vaccination

In light of the persistent vaccine hesitancy among some people, governments around the world are considering a range of incentives to induce people go get jabbed (beyond, that is, preventing the unvaccinated from living a normal life).

An Australian pub has received backing from Prime Minister Scott Morrison to give vaccinated punters free pints, despite the Therapeutic Goods Administration previously turning these plans down due to rules about offering alcohol as an incentive to receive medicines. “It’s a sensible rule,” said Morrison. “But in these circumstances, the national interest is to get vaccinated.”

Free beer has also been suggested as an incentive for vaccination in America, where President Joe Biden said last month: “That’s right, get a shot, have a beer. Free beer for everyone 21 years or over to celebrate the independence from the virus.”

This, however, is all child’s play compared to the latest scheme being considered in Germany. Some of the country’s economists have urged the Government to give those who are unsure about being vaccinated €300 (£258) cash if they get ‘jabbed’! The Times has the story.

Officials say the effort is beginning to flag in many parts of the country because of falling demand. This has led to concerns that Germany could struggle to reach herd immunity, which is estimated to require vaccinating about 80% of people. That number is disputed and has risen with the dawn of more transmissible strains.

The scale of the problem was highlighted yesterday by a poll published in Die Welt, which found that 12% of Germans had no intention of being immunised and 18% had yet to make an appointment.

Opinions differ on how to win them around. Some politicians have suggested offering cinema, museum or swimming pool tickets, or setting up drop-in vaccination stands in football stadiums and shopping centres. The Health Ministry has held out the prospect of abolishing swathes of pandemic restrictions once enough people have been jabbed.

However, a number of economists have proposed a much more straightforward incentive: hard cash. “With a cash reward, people can immediately see the positive impact on their finances and are free to use the money according to their own preferences,” Jan Schnellenbach, Professor of Economics at the Brandenburg University of Technology, said. …

Nora Szech, an Economist at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, has calculated that a €500 bonus would raise the proportion of the population willing to be vaccinated to 90%.

Schnellenbach believes that €200 or €300 would be enough. “There are pointers in the academic literature, from laboratory and field experiments, that show you can achieve really quite big effects on people’s behaviour with this kind of sum,” he said.

Worth reading in full.

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