Nearly three in five unvaccinated Americans said a big financial incentive would persuade them to get a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a new survey.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday about 154 million people in the United States have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, about 58 percent of U.S. adults. That number is shy of the goal of 70 percent that President Joe Biden set for May 4.
To incentivize those who have not yet been vaccinated to get the shot, several states are adopting programs offering some form of award for getting vaccinated. The state of West Virginia is handing out $100 savings bonds to anyone ages 16-35 who gets a vaccine. The governor of Ohio just announced a million-dollar lottery drawing for vaccinated voters in his state. In New Jersey and Connecticut, anyone who gets a vaccine also gets a free beer. And Maryland is offering $100 payments to state employees who get vaccinated.
Though some critics are skeptical that these financial incentives will actually encourage people to get vaccinated, a Morning Consult survey released Thursday found some vaccination incentives could work.
For example, 57 percent of unvaccinated adults said a big cash payment, such as a $1,000 savings bond, would persuade them to get COVID-19 shots. Another 43 percent said they'd probably or definitely get vaccinated for a smaller $50 bond. Adult respondents under age 45 were more likely to say a big financial incentive would incentivize them to get their vaccines.
The number-one reason given by survey respondents for their vaccine hesitancy was concerns over the "long term effects," 44% said. Another 32% indicated they were concerned about the "short term" effects of the vaccine.
The second-most cited reason for vaccine hesitancy, given by 39% of respondents, is that there is too much "conflicting information" about the vaccines for them to feel comfortable getting shots right now.
While there is no nationwide requirement for adults to be vaccinated, the survey suggests a requirement to be vaccinated might work as well as a financial incentive: 57% of unvaccinated Americans said they'd get a COVID-19 shot if they were required to do so for work or to shop in-person; 48% said they'd get the vaccine if it was required to dine indoors at a restaurant; and 45% said they'd get vaccinated in order to fly domestically.
The survey also suggests steps taken to make getting the vaccine more convenient might also convince more people to take advantage of the opportunity. Nearly half of unvaccinated adults said they would "probably or definitely get a shot" if it was provided by their employer at the workplace; if they could get it from their primary care doctor during a checkup; or if they didn't need an appointment for a walk-up vaccination site that opened near their workplace.