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COVID-19 vaccine incentives offered for children

Virus Outbreak Kids Vaccine
Posted at 1:29 PM, Nov 09, 2021

Some schools are sweetening the deal for kids who get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Districts are offering incentives like gift cards, tickets to sporting events and amusement parks, and raffle entries for things like scholarships and bigger prizes.

Regardless of how convincing children can be, economics professor Iwan Barankay says the evidence is stacking up that these sorts of incentives don't really improve vaccine rates much.

He says it's more likely schools have COVID-19 money to spend and will argue if it helps even a few, it's worth it.

Barankay believes two other factors will play more of a role in swaying families to vaccinate children.

He says the motivation to gather safely with relatives for the holidays will likely lead families with younger children to get the vaccine. And a child's social circle is another big factor.

“Peer influence is quite universal, and we should not just focus on the people who are the most popular or might interact with the most popular,” said Barankay.

A study out of North Carolina found cash incentives for those who got vaccinated and for people who drove someone to a vaccine site helped boost rates in areas with higher social vulnerability.

“And this is an important other group who just face very complex living conditions, who find it very difficult to schedule an appointment to make it fit into their day because they have child obligations, they have two jobs,” said Barankay.