INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — President Joe Biden on Thursday called on states and local governments to offer cash as an incentive for vaccinations: $100 to people who haven’t already gotten the shot.
The idea has had some success in other states and with employers including Kroger.
Biden hopes it will help people overcome their hesitancy if they see green.
Usiel Contreras told News 8 from Monument Circle shortly after Biden’s announcement, “If I was offered 100 bucks, then, yeah, I’d get it,” Contreras said. “If they say, ‘Here’s 100 bucks, go get it,’ I’m just like, yeah, sure.”
Also on Monument Circle, Ivy Harkenrider said she’s not yet been vaccinated, and $100 would not be not enough. “No, but my college is making me.”
Harkenrider said the very idea of a cash incentive makes her more leery of the whole thing. “I think any vaccination other people have taken, they never had to be paid.”
“One-hundred dollars doesn’t make that much of a difference at the end of the day,” Harkenrider said. “It would have to be $1,000 for me to really like step foot forward, ‘Ok, I’ll put this mystery medicine in me.'”
For the 164 million fully vaccinated Americans, including 60% of adults, the idea may sound unfair. Biden addressed that in his remarks. “If incentives help us beat this virus, I believe we should use them. We all benefit if we can get more people vaccinated.”
The idea has already been used in Colorado, New Mexico and Ohio as well as the Kroger supermarket chain.
Back on Monument Circle, Savannah Dean said she’s already fully vaccinated, but added, “If they were to do some type of back pay for the people that were before, then I think that would be a good idea.”
“If that’s what it’s going to take for some people to get it, then I think they should,” Dean said.
Tom Ozuk, who has been fully vaccinated for months, told News 8 he hopes the cash works. “I hope so. The country needs it.”
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s office declined to provide a response to Biden’s proposal.
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett’s office said it’s reviewing the new guidance from the White House and will present its plans for the city’s allocation of federal dollars at a City-County Council meeting on Aug. 9. The city’s 2022 budget will be considered at that meeting.