Those in the US who are hesitant to get a COVID-19 vaccine are being offered a host of incentives, including cash, free drinks and gift cards by states and cities.
Connecticut announced that any vaccinated resident is eligible for a free alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink if they purchase food at participating restaurants between May 19 and May 31.
Local residents must prove that they have received either one or both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine before they can get the beverage.
A statement from Connecticut’s tourism office said: “The Connecticut Restaurant Association is partnering with Governor Lamont and the State of Connecticut to launch the #CTDrinksOnUs campaign, where participating Connecticut restaurants will offer complimentary drinks to patrons beginning on May 19.”
West Virginia will give any of its residents aged 16 to 35 years $100 in savings bonds if they get vaccinated.
In Harris County, Texas, officials have put aside $250,000 to fund gift cards to give to residents who take the vaccine, the Houston Chronicle reported.
In Chicago, city officials are planning to launch two programs to encourage people to get vaccinated that would give them access to special summer events or offer discounts at barber shops.
Officials in Detroit are offering a $50 pre-paid debit card to anyone who takes another person to get vaccinated.
A March 2021 PBS NewsHour /NPR/ Marist poll showed that 41 percent of Republicans don’t plan to get vaccinated.
Jonathan Berman, a scientist, science educator, and author of the book Anti-vaxxers, How to Challenge a Misinformed Movement, said that people opposed to vaccines tend to remain steadfast in their refusal to get vaccinated. But the vaccine-hesitant can be persuaded.
“Vaccine-hesitant people usually end up getting vaccinated but may need encouragement or to be reassured. The best way to convince them would be for governments and manufacturers to launch a vaccine-confidence project to work in communities to build confidence,” he told China Daily.
Public health experts say that many factors influence people to remain unvaccinated, including religious and cultural reasons.
Dr Shikha Jain, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Illinois in Chicago and co-founder of IMPACT, a group that works to improve the equitable distribution of vaccines, said that some people also don’t have easy access to smartphones or computers to book an appointment.