Do vaccine incentives work? Depends on how hesitant you are

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Nationwide, the CDC reported 17 percent of adults are still hesitant about the COVID-19 vaccine. While incentives from governments and companies may sway some people, they could also deter others altogether.

CVS announced Tuesday it was raffling off tickets to the Superbowl, a cruise, and music festival passes to vaccinated people.

Dr. Austin Hall, a professor or psychiatry at the UNC School of Medicine, said the incentives have a limit.

“I think they probably work best for those who just need a little bit of a nudge to choose to get vaccinated. I don’t think they’re likely to sway anyone who is strongly resistant,” he said.

A nationwide survey from UCLA’s COVID-19 Health and Politics Project about vaccine incentives found:

  • $25 swayed 28 percent more people
  • $50 swayed 31 percent more people
  • $100 swayed 34 percent more people
  • 15 percent deterred if offered any money

Hall said it’s hard to pin down why that may be.

“I imagine those individuals are far enough down the path of that kind of thinking that they’d be unlikely, though to be choosing to get the vaccine soon,” Hall said.

In Ohio, the Associated Press reported a 33-percent increase in vaccination rates after a $1 million lottery for vaccinated adults was announced.

Gov. Roy Cooper (D) said he has had conversations with lawmakers from both parties about a potential vaccine lottery in North Carolina, as other states try that to boost vaccination rates.

“We’re certainly looking at what other states have done and looking at their numbers to see if it’s worked. I’ve talked with several legislators on both sides of the aisle about the potential of doing that kind of thing here,” Cooper told CBS 17. “And, I think most everybody is of the opinion that whatever works, whatever gets people vaccinated, we want to try because we know that’s the key to emerging from this pandemic to turning our economy around.”

Hall said getting more vaccines to care providers can may give a little nudge too.

“Providers can have that conversation with the patient, and address education, address that hesitancy, and then complete the vaccination process — or at least the first step of the vaccination process if it’s a two-dose vaccine — right there in the office,” Hall said.

Because vaccines are free, companies are not directly making money off encouraging them. They could just be hoping its a good look for their own employees and the public.

“So some of the employers or private businesses that are offering incentives, like a doughnut, to the general public, may in part be trying to make clear to their own employees that they really want to encourage vaccination and want to create a safe workplace,” Hall explained. “And if they get good PR from it, I think that’s well earned.”

CVS Sweepstakes:

  • CVS Health: (125) $500 giveaways and (5) grand prize giveaways of $5,000 for family reunions
  • Norwegian Cruise Line: (100) 7-day cruises for two in a balcony stateroom to your choice of destination including the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe, and more
  • Procter & Gamble: VIP trip to Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles for two people including Super Bowl game tickets, airfare, hotel, and more
  • Unilever: (250) Night Out coupon booklets to use towards free Unilever products e.g. Dove, TRESemmé, Suave, Degree, Schmidt’s, St. Ives, and more. Grand prize of a 2022 NCAA Final Four package for two.
  • Bermuda Tourism Authority: (5) three nights/four-day trips for two including airfare, deluxe hotel accommodations, roundtrip transportation, and more
  • Hinge: (500) $100 gift cards for dates and (1) grand prize of a $5,000 gift card for an ultimate date experience for a winning couple
  • iHeartMedia: VIP package for two to attend iHeartRadio Music Festival including first-class airfare, hotel, floor seats, backstage experiences with artists, and other amazing surprises
  • smarTours: (6) fully escorted tours for two to one of many international destinations, including airfare, (1) of which is a grand prize
  • Wyndham Rewards®: (5) two-night weekend getaways with a Platinum membership upgrade and a Grand Prize seven-night getaway including airfare voucher and a Diamond membership upgrade, redeemable at thousands of hotels, vacation club resorts and vacation rentals around the globe

Click here to enter.

Other vaccine incentives:

  • Target: $5 gift card for people vaccinated through CVS
  • Krispy Kreme: One free glazed donut a day for anyone who shows their COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card
  • North Carolina Central University: Weekly giveaways for vaccinated students. Prizes include smart TVs, laptops, and student housing credits.
  • Global Citizens: Tell the organization why you got vaccinated and earn points to use towards tickets to events like the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix and the MLB World Series.

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