Former presidential candidate John Delaney, a Democrat, has proposed paying Americans $1,500 to receive a coronavirus vaccine. A recent poll by Gallup suggested that only six in 10 Americans would agree to receive the vaccine, leading to fears that Americans may be reluctant to be vaccinated.
“The faster we get 75% of this country vaccinated, the faster we end COVID and the sooner everything returns to normal,” Delaney told CNBC. “We have to create, in my judgment, an incentive for people to really accelerate their thinking about taking the vaccine."
“If you’re still afraid of the vaccine and don’t want to take it, that’s your right,” Delaney said. “You won’t participate in this program. But guess what? You’re going to benefit anyhow because we’ll get the country to herd immunity faster, which benefits you. So I think everyone wins.”
Delaney pointed out that we already have measures to encourage people to get vaccinated. Some vaccines are required in order for children to attend school.
“It’s not like we don’t pull levers to get people vaccinated,” Delaney said. “We do that now.”
Delaney said that the program would cost around $380 billion, more than the $270 billion that the United States spent on the $1,200 stimulus checks sent out earlier this year.
“So if you can only spend $400 billion, this is what you should spend it on," Delaney said.
“The faster we get 75% of this country vaccinated, the faster we end COVID and the sooner everything returns to normal, which means we don’t need any more programs,” Delaney added.
Bill Hoagland, senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center, had mixed opinions on the idea.
“It’s an interesting idea,” he said. “It’s a nudge factor. But that shouldn’t be an issue then that decides on a stimulus check if we’re going to have stimulus checks out there."
Howard Gleckman, senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, added: “In some ways, it’s the reverse order for when you want to deliver stimulus checks for people. It’s always nice to be able to kill two birds with one stone, but in this case I think the two birds are flying off in different directions. It’s going to be really hard to make it work.”