Donuts, beer, the chance of winning millions in a lottery or even a cow – there are various incentives around the world to get vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2. Journalists Serena Tinari and Catherine Riva have researched a literally motley compilation for the prestigious British Medical Journal (BMJ).
The most financially profitable vaccination could be in the US state of Ohio. There, the state is funding the “Vax a Million” campaign, which will win a million US dollars (844,309.36 euros) over a period of five weeks. Young people, on the other hand, can win one of five university places for a four-year course. Some places in the USA are extremely expensive. Many students or their families go into debt for this with loans.
Otherwise the list of incentives is long: US citizens are offered money, free donuts, fishing or hunting permits, free entry to museums, zoos, concert tickets or seats at popular sporting events for the “shot” that is supposed to protect against Covid-19 .
“Get vaccinated and have a beer,” said US President Joe Biden, who called on Americans to vaccinate. The US state of New Jersey, neighboring New York City, started the “Vaccination and a Beer” campaign. Washington State offers “Vaccination Joints”. Michigan has “Pot for Shots” – also cannabis as a reward. In West Virginia, Call to Arms is all about cash gifts, winning trucks, and even guns.
In Canada, on the other hand, according to the feature in the BMJ, twelve-year-old vaccinees receive free ice cream as a reward. A vaccination route in the Netherlands distributes pickled herrings. “In Chiang Mai, Thailand, on the other hand, you can win a cow,” says the medical journal. Hong Kong, on the other hand, offers the chance of gold bars or a Tesla electric car racer. In Romania, Count Dracula’s castle has even been converted into a ghost train vaccination street.
Not all experts are enthusiastic about such actions. For Ana Santos Rutschman, professor at the Saint Louis University School of Law in the USA, financial donations for Covid-19 vaccinations are a particular problem: “Something like that is undesirable in a pandemic that is accompanied by fake news and distrust of the health authorities becomes.” That could also have the opposite effect and cause the mood to tip over.
But small incentives should give an additional stimulus for vaccination, especially for those who are in a mere waiting position. You will not reach real vaccine opponents with it, said the medical philosopher Maya Goldenberg (University of Guelph / Ontario). In the United States, 40 percent of adults who rely on “wait and see and drink tea” with regard to the Covid-19 vaccination are after all.
In any case, Ross Silverman of Indiana University has a wish: “I would prefer the authorities not to use guns, alcohol or cannabis as an incentive.” On the other hand, Allyson Pollock, director of the Center of Excellence in Research into Regulatory Systems at the University of Newcastle, UK, says: “Such programs are the antithesis of good public health systems. They are driven by commercial interests. Vaccination strategies should be based on information, trust and consent , not coercion or bribery. “