Vaccine Central

IUPUI epidemiologist: Biden’s idea for incentives could boost vaccination rates

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Biden administration Tuesday announced a new vaccination effort with incentives for immunizations.

It’s an idea experts say is ethical and also common practice in public health.

“As long as it’s not excessive, right? That we’re not paying exorbitant amounts of money to individuals just to be vaccinated or withholding services from people just to be vaccinated,” said Thomas Duszynski, director of epidemiology education at IUPUI.

Duszynski said perks may be the push some people need, but he believes still bigger issues surround access and hesitancy to vaccination, points the president also addressed.

The educator said, “Take it to them; don’t rely on them to come to you. Take it to them, which I think is going to be really important anyway we can get closer to the individuals, make it easier for them.”

He said, right now, the country is in a race against the COVID-19 variants at the same time vaccination numbers are dropping.

“We need those numbers to keep going up. I mean if we look across the US, we’re only at about 31%, 32% vaccinated, which is far short of what we believe that herd immunity threshold is of 70% to 80%,” he said.

Until the country reaches that point, Duszynski said, it’s tough to predict what happens next.

President Joe Biden touted creative efforts to make it “easier and more fun” to get vaccinated, such as grocery stores offering discounts to shoppers who come to get shots and sports leagues that hold promotions to gets shots for their fans. He shared no specifics on which sports venues, grocery chains or other businesses have agreed to provide the incentives.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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