If you’re one of the few thousands of people who head to the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday, May 2 to watch the Brooklyn Nets play, you have the chance to get a very special souvenir during the game – your first dose of a Pfizer / BioNTech -vaccine. The unusual vaccination urge is part of many new efforts in the US to give people their photos, be it by bribing them with savings in West Virginia or by running vaccination clinics at professional basketball games in Wisconsin.
In the US, the supply of vaccines is high, but the demand is starting to decline, as my colleague Nicole Wetsman wrote last week. That means people are getting a lot more creative about ways to convince people to take their photos. You know, in case the free beer, free donuts, and the chance to be protected from a virus that is disrupting the world is not enough.
Some places hope that money will help sweeten the deal. Western Virginians between the ages of 16 and 35 who are vaccinated are eligible for a $ 100 savings bond from the government. It would cost the government about $ 27.5 million to give those savings bonds to everyone 380,000 eligible young people in the state. That’s a lot, but only about half of what the state spent on COVID-19 testing in the past year.
“It would be such a drop in the bucket compared to the wicked amount of money we are spending now,” Governor Jim Justice told The Washington Post. The state is trying to have at least 70 percent of the eligible population vaccinated. More than 78 percent of West Virginia residents over age 65 have gotten their chance, but other age groups are lagging behind. That is why the savings bonds are aimed at younger people, who are less likely to receive the vaccine.
“Our kids today probably don’t really realize how important they are to shut this thing down,” Justice said in a press conference. “I’m trying to figure out a way that will really motivate them – and us – to get over the bump.”
West Virginia isn’t alone in considering financial benefits to improve vaccination coverage. Grocery chain Kroeger is offering its employees $ 100 to be vaccinated. Several colleges and universities offer gift certificates, or other financial incentives to their students if they are vaccinated. For some people who have followed the course of the pandemic, the fact that so many groups are resorting to these measures is quite depressing.
“The fact that we as a country currently have to beg or pay or bribe people to take this life-saving vaccine, the international view is appalling. We look like a nation of adolescents, especially at a time when India, Africa and most of the world are crying out for more vaccination, “Peter Hotez told The Washington Post this week. Hotez, a vaccine expert at Baylor College of Medicine, thought the promotions were good ideas, but regretted that they would be needed at all.
It may be a shame, but it’s a strategy that has been shown to work before. In the 1950s, efforts to get teens vaccinated focused on similar exclusive benefits – among other promotions, dancing called ‘Salk Hops’ were only open to people who had received the polio vaccine. More recently, flu vaccinations increased significantly on campus when students were given $ 30 to get an injection, according to a paper written by economist Erin Bronchetti in 2015. The same could be true today, with a different vaccine.
“A financial incentive helps people – in this case, students – compensate for the benefit they bring to their society or their university campus by getting vaccinated,” Bronchetti told Inside Higher Ed in April. “In that way, a financial incentive for vaccination seems like a completely ethical and fair thing to do. It rewards people for this contribution to the common good. “
Temptations are still outliers in vaccination urge, and many more groups are pursuing approaches similar to those of the Milwaukee Health Department and their partnership with the Bucks. They are more focused on making vaccines as accessible as possible by meeting people where they are; setting up mobile vaccination rides to bring the vaccines to people’s homes, in their neighborhood or even to a basketball game.
Starting this week 100 million people in the US are fully vaccinated and more than 1.13 billion injections have been given worldwide. That’s pretty incredible for just five months since the first public rollout. But there are still billions of people to be vaccinated. Everything we have – more supplies, more money and more creativity – is needed to give everyone at least a chance at vaccination.
Here’s what else is happening this week.
The UK recovery trial was a huge effort to find existing drugs that could treat COVID-19. Unbelievably, it worked. The story is part of Vox’s ongoing Pandemic Playbook, a series that looks at how countries both succeeded and failed during the pandemic. (Dylan Scott /Vox)
“The health of animals is ours, ours is theirs, theirs is ours.” Maggie Koerth writes. As the pandemic continues, scientists are trying to figure out which animals may be at risk of catching SARS-CoV-2 from humans. This is a fascinating talk about a process called ‘reverse zoonosis’ and the scientists who are trying to balance the risks of transmission with the need for research. (Maggie Koerth /FiveThirtyEight)
This week, a regulatory agency in Brazil is unanimous rejected the Russian Sputnik V. vaccine. Over at Stat, Well-known virologist Angela Rasmussen explains why – and what is happening now. (Damian Garde and Meg Tirrell /Stat)
This is a visual journey through the vaccine manufacturing process, starting with the bacteria that produce DNA containing coronavirus genes, working their way through a rigorous testing process, and finally ending with the delivery and administration of the completed vaccine. (Emma Cott, Elliot deBruyn and Jonathan Corum / The New York Times)
India is experiencing a horrific rise in both cases and deaths. The US has pledged to send 60 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to countries around the world, including India, but much more will need to be done to turn the tide of the pandemic there. (Dan Vergano /BuzzFeed News)
COVID-19 vaccinations keep older Americans out of hospitals
New research from the CDC shows that vaccines are already working well. For people over 65, a full course of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine has reduced the risk of hospitalization by 94 percent. Johnson & Johnson, which was later approved, was not included in this particular study. (Nicole Wetsman /The edge)
Many people adopted a pet during the COVID-19 pandemic. My wife and I just lost one.
Jay Peters writes poignantly about the experience of grief during a pandemic The edge.
“It was like you were back to normal, but it gave you a false idea of what was going on in the world … It was like Covid hadn’t happened.”
Albert Stagnetto talk to The Wall Street Journal about the experience of dining again with his extended family after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in Gibraltar.
It wasn’t the first time I saw someone die right in front of me, but this one stung the most. I had a conflict about taking the dead man’s photo, but then I told myself that I am a journalist and have to do my job. I haven’t been able to sleep much since that day. What do you do when you come home to witness death and fear? I have images of corpses, crematoriums and cemeteries that play in my head all day long.
Photographer Bhat Burhan talked to Vice News about the horrors of covering up the apocalyptic rise in the number of cases in India.
More than numbers
To the people who use it 1.13 billion vaccine doses spread so far – thank you.
To the more than 151,481,961 people worldwide who have tested positive, may your path to recovery go smoothly.
The families and friends of the 3,182,545 people who have died worldwide – 576,234 of those in the US – are not forgotten about your loved ones.
Stay safe, everyone.