COVID-19 Vaccine Payouts: Are Incentives Enough To Push Through The Plateau?

Some states are offering a king's ransom to incentivize residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but are incentives, financial and otherwise, actually worth the price?

Video Transcript

- Vaccine pay-out. Some states are offering a King's ransom to incentivize residents to get vaccinated, but are incentives-- financial and otherwise-- actually worth the price? CBS 13 investigative Megan Hickey has been digging into that question. Meghan, it comes on the heels of an announcement from Governor Pritzker, right?

MEGAN HICKEY: Brad, he announced that Six Flags Great America will be offering 50,000 free tickets to their parks in Gurnee and Rockford to freshly vaccinated Illinois residents. But many are asking, will these deals be enough to overcome that vaccination plateau? If you're on the fence about vaccines, would a free trip to Six Flags put you over the edge?

[SCREAMING]

J.B PRITZKER: That's a $200 value to a family of five.

MEGAN HICKEY: The state of Illinois hopes so. Six Flags is donating $4 million worth of tickets, and they're not the only ones. The White Sox are offering site vaccinations beginning May 24, and fans who get the shot will receive a $25 White Sox gift card to use inside the ballpark. But some states like Ohio are digging into their federal coronavirus relief funds, taxpayer dollars, to pay for a weekly lottery. Ohio will give five people $1 million each in return for having been vaccinated.

MIKE DEWINE: And I said, I know I'll be criticized. I know that there'll be some people say, well, that's-- that's a waste.

MEGAN HICKEY: Ohio governor Mike DeWine said saving lives with the vaccine would be worth the criticism. But will it do the trick? Depends who you ask.

LIZ HAMEL: For those people in the wait and see category--

MEGAN HICKEY: Liz Hamel directs survey research at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

LIZ HAMEL: If your employer paid you an extra $200 to get vaccinated, would that make you more likely to do it? And we found that that was effective for about 4 in 10 people, and that wait and see group.

MEGAN HICKEY: Opinions can also be impacted by where the money is coming from. Hamel says the researchers have found that some vaccine holdouts are more skeptical of government.

LIZ HAMEL: So for those people they might be more likely to accept an incentive that comes from a private corporation. On the other hand, you know there are some people who feel the opposite. And so, you know, I think a variety of strategies are going to be needed.

MEGAN HICKEY: When asked about possible taxpayer funded initiatives here in Illinois, Governor Pritzker said--

J.B PRITZKER: We have so many institutions around that are willing to do things like what Six Flags is doing, so we're going to use our resources as wisely as we can.

MEGAN HICKEY: Now Kaiser Family researchers also found that many people in that wait and see category would be more likely to get vaccinated if those vaccines were brought to more convenient locations. Live in the streetside studio, Megan Hickey, CBS 2 Investigators.