The Biden administration wants states and local governments to give $100 to “every newly vaccinated American,” the Treasury Department said in a statement today. It’s the latest federal effort to improve vaccination rates as COVID-19 continues to surge around the country, driven by the highly contagious Delta variant.
States could use funding from the American Rescue Plan to fund the payments. The administration is not mandating the incentive, but the Treasury Department said it was partnering with the Department of Health and Human Services to help governments roll it out.
New York City announced this week that it would give $100 to anyone who got a shot at one of the city-run vaccination sites. “I think when someone says here’s $100 for you, that’s going to make a big impact,” Mayor Bill De Blasio said on Wednesday. The program starts Friday.
Financial incentives may help nudge some people to get their shot, Elisa Sobo, an anthropologist at San Diego State University who studies vaccine hesitancy, told The New York Times. “Some people who have until now been on the fence will see $100 as a good reason to get off of it.” But it won’t be an incentive for everyone. “Some folks will find the offer insulting; others will use it as ‘proof’ that the vaccine is no good.”
Vaccination rates in the United States had been dropping steadily since April. They’ve started to slowly tick up again as people in states with major outbreaks — which had the lowest levels of vaccination — sign up for shots.
Biden is also expected to announce a vaccine mandate for federal workers today.