But all of that shouldn’t mask the fact that the existence and potential success of this program is yet another sign of the way that malevolent actors have undermined Americans’ public confidence in vaccines, mainstreamed formerly fringe anti-vaccination sentiments and politicized our response to this terrifying pandemic.
We shouldn’t have to bribe to vaccinate. And while people can do what they want with their own bodies, that doesn’t include the right to carry a deadly disease into public spaces. The way to get people vaccinated should be simply to require vaccination or documented medical exemption in order to return to schools, businesses, and crowded public spaces.
And so we’re stuck using greed, using a lottery, as a motivator.
From doughnuts to marijuana, beer to cash, private and public entities have been appropriately creative when it comes to persuading people about vaccines. But all of those are carrots. We also need a stick.