These U.S. states and cities are offering to pay kids if they get vaccinated
Published Friday, November 5, 2021 8:11AM EDT Last Updated Friday, November 5, 2021 8:11AM EDT
Millions of children in America became eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine this week. And some officials are sweetening the deal by including them in various incentive programs.
In New York City, children can claim US$100 if they get their first dose of Pfizer's vaccine at city-operated vaccine site. Alternatively, they can get tickets to city attractions such as the Statue of Liberty or the Brooklyn Cyclones baseball team. The incentive program was already available to other New Yorkers who got vaccinated.
"We really want kids to take advantage, families take advantage of that," Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday. "Everyone could use a little more money around the holidays. But, most importantly, we want our kids and our families to be safe."
In Chicago, health officials are also offering US$100 gift cards for children ages five to 11 when they get the shots at Chicago Public Health events or clinics, officials said.
Plus, the Chicago school district -- one of the largest in the nation -- is closing on Nov. 12 for Vaccination Awareness Day to make it easier for students to get their shots.
"It is rare that we make a late change to the school calendar, but we see this as an important investment in the future of this school year and the health and wellbeing of our students, staff, and families," Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Pedro Martinez said in a message to parents.
The perks come after the U.S. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention on Tuesday cleared children as young as 5 for smaller vaccination doses, making most Americans eligible for the shots.
In Texas, San Antonio officials announced that parents and guardians who help their children get vaccinated at a public health clinic may claim a US$100 gift card for H-E-B grocery stores. And in neighbouring Louisiana, officials said the 5-11 age group could soon also claim US$100.
In Minnesota, officials launched the "Kids Deserve a Shot" program intended to bolster vaccine numbers among those ages 12 and 17, officials said. The state is offering a US$200 visa card as well as the opportunity to enter a raffle for a US$100,000 college scholarship or a Minnesota experience prize package.
However, it's unclear if the various incentives will help bolster the vaccine numbers.
A study published last month in JAMA Health Forum found that incentive lotteries organized by 19 states did not seem to work.
However, the researchers speculated that lotteries may be less enticing than actual cash for vaccines.
A survey in May from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 47 per cent of people who say they want to "wait and see" before being vaccinated said paid time off to get it would make them more likely to do so, and 39 per cent said a financial incentive of US$200 from their employer would work.
Overall, the U.S. has fully vaccinated more than 58 per cent of the total population as of Thursday, according to CDC data.