CHICAGO (CBS) — Some states are offering a king’s ransom to incentivize residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but are incentives, financial and otherwise, actually worth the price?
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker announced that Six Flags America will offer 50,000 free tickets to its parks in Gurnee and Rockford to newly vaccinated Illinois residents.READ MORE: Good Samaritan's Car Stolen As He Helps Victims Of Three-Car Crash
A free trip to Six Flags is about a $200 value to a family of five, Pritzker said, meaning Six Flags is donating $4 million worth of tickets.
The State of Illinois hopes that is enough of an incentive to get through the vaccination plateau, but it’s not the only incentive. The White Sox are offering on-site vaccinations beginning May 24, and fans who get the shot will receive a $25 White Sox gift card for use inside the ballpark.
Some states like Ohio are digging into their federal coronavirus relief funds, which come from taxpayer dollars, to pay for a weekly lottery. Ohio will give five people $1 million each in return for having been vaccinated.
“I said I know I’ll be criticized. There will be people who say that’s a waste,” said Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.
He said saving lives with the vaccine would be worth the criticism.READ MORE: Security Guard Shoots Man Who Pulled Gun When Asked To Pay For Snacks At Englewood Gas Station
But will it do the trick? That depends who is being asked.
“Particularly for those people in the ‘wait an see’ category we’ve tested,” said Liz Hamel, who directs survey research at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “We asked people with jobs, ‘If your employer paid you an extra $200 to get vaccinated would that make you more likely to do it and we found that that was effective for about four out of 10 people in that ‘wait and see’ group.”
Opinions can also be affected by where the money is coming from. Hamel says their researchers have found that some vaccine holdouts are more skeptical of government.
“And so, for those people they might be more likely to accept an incentive that comes from a private corporation. And on the other hand, you know, there are some people who feel the opposite and so, you know, I think a variety of strategies are going to be needed,” she said.
When asked about possible taxpayer funded initiatives in Illinois, Gov. Prtizker said, “We have so many institutions around that are willing to do things like what Six Flags is doing. So we’re going to use our resources as wisely as we can.”MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Hot Weekend With Storms For Father's Day
Kaiser Family researchers also found that many people in that “wait and see” category say they would be much more likely to get vaccinated if the vaccines were brought to convenient locations.