Should Americans Get Paid To Take the Vaccine? Economists Say ‘Yes’
As coronavirus continues spreading across the globe, drug makers are working steadily towards a vaccine. When a vaccine could be available, how effective it is and who will be first to get a vaccine are questions that have yet to be answered and are on the minds of everyone right now as trials are underway, some in phases nearing the end of their trials.
Despite the amount of effort, number of scientists and multiple drug companies involved in finding a vaccine, many Americans are wary of taking a vaccine when it eventually becomes available.
A week ago, USA Today published results of a poll they conducted showing two-thirds of U.S. voters won't get a vaccine for COVID-19 novel coronavirus when it becomes available. Meanwhile, one in four don't want to get it at all.
There are many reasons for not wanting to take the vaccine, one being mistrust in vaccines altogether, others being a mistrust in the government pushing a drug that doesn't actually work. Whatever the reasoning, there is a huge hurdle that the U.S. Government faces: getting people back to work in a healthy community.
A couple of economists, N. Gregory Mankiw of Harvard and Robert Litan of the Brookings Institute, are suggesting an incentive to the American public: money.
Mankiw wrote an op-ed in the New York Times recently stating just this idea:
"Immunology, meet economics. One of the first principles of economics -- perhaps the most important -- is that people respond to incentives."
More money the government has to shell out, you say? Well, it might be a better bargain than the bigger, heftier price tag on the U.S. economy if people don't get vaccinated.