Lytton, Cynthia Crider, Rachel Martin discussed on Morning Edition

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

I'm Tanya mostly and I'm Rachel Martin. We know there are some Americans who are hesitant to get vaccinated. So there's this idea out there to give them money to encourage him minutes supported by a number of economists and politicians. Essentially a government cash for shots program. But there are those who do say it could backfire. NPR's Uri Berliner has more Robert lighten worries that appeals from politicians and celebrities that implore people to get vaccinated. They won't be enough so cash payout should be a plan B. Lighten, an economist affiliated with the Brookings Institution, says that could be what it takes to reach herd immunity, because if we don't get to that we're not going to get our lives back. He's proposing that the federal government compensate everyone who gets vaccinated $1000. $200 for getting both shots and 800 after the country reaches herd immunity. We just have a lot of people in this country. We don't trust the government or they don't trust vaccines or whatever I view the payment. For a vaccine as the price we pay for having a divided country. Lytton and his wife are both 70. And they were brainstorming about how they'd ever get out of the house again. Their idea. It's straight out of economics, 101. People respond to incentives and incentives could be used not just for the sake of individuals but for the benefit of society as a whole, like insurance discounts for safe driving. Cash payouts for employees who quit smoking. This one would be pricey. So it $1000 a person round numbers. We're talking somewhere between 253 $100 million. That's billions with a B but Lytton says it would be a drop in the bucket compared to the economic harm if the pandemic persists. After Light wrote about paying people to get vaccinated. The idea got backing from former Democratic presidential candidates John Delaney and Andrew Yang and from the prominent economist Greg. Thank you, but that's about it. There's no groundswell. No bill in Congress, it may not be ready for prime time until we actually see the take up right. Take up rate for vaccinations. Now, if government pay up, speed up to take up right and help us overcome the pandemic, it would be money well spent. But some say the idea overlooks a basic factor. Fear payment may indeed encouraged some people to get the vaccine. Cynthia Crider teaches marketing at Washington University, these old and business school, But it may also deter some people from getting the vaccine because payments signals that the vaccine is risky. The worry is that some people will think the government wouldn't pay me to take these shots. Unless there's something dodgy about the vaccine, even though there's no evidence of that. There's a lot at stake in overcoming suspicions about the vaccines. Dr Anthony Fauci says vaccination levels should reach between 70 and 90%. Fully protect the population, But more than 30% of people say they want or probably won't take the shots right now. The math doesn't work. Maybe confidence will grow as more shots are given. But if not a month from them, we could be hearing a lot more about lightens plan be paying people to get vaccinated. Marie Berliner NPR news.

Coming up next