Stimulus checks should be topped off with $300 for Americans who vaccinate against coronavirus, John Delaney argues

When Congress voted on laws that would include $ 600 stimulus checks for Americans amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a former Democratic congressman suggested adding an extra few hundred dollars for Americans who vaccinate.
"Imagine if we made $ 900 or $ 1,000 and we got $ 600 for everyone and another $ 300 or $ 400 went to you when you got the vaccine," said John Delaney, a representative for Maryland's 6th Congressional District from 2013 to 2019 and presidential candidate for 2020. said on Yahoo Finance Live (video above). "Such ideas should be included in the mix as they require an important stimulus check and create an incentive for people to get vaccinated, which is incredibly important."
US Congress attending physician Brian Monahan hands House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) a health card after her vaccination against the coronavirus on December 18, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Anna Moneymaker-Pool / Getty Images)
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The idea, which Delaney put forward in various forms, echoed the suggestions of some economists and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang.
"The data or surveys suggest that not enough Americans are focused on getting the vaccine in the short term," added Delaney, referring to the survey that approximately 60% of Americans would vaccinate against coronavirus if possible. "So I think if we could create an incentive instead of saying 50% of the country will be vaccinated, 75% of the country will be vaccinated sooner, it would end this tragedy of COVID and allow us to get back to normal faster."
According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), at least 75-85% of the country must be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
2020 U.S. Democratic Presidential Candidate John Delaney (D-MD) speaks at the 2019 National Action Network National Congress in New York, the United States, on April 4, 2019. REUTERS / Lucas Jackson
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"I don't think there are ethical considerations."
A recent statement published in the New York Times suggested that vaccination payments could backfire if some Americans believe the vaccine is "bad" on its own.
"For those who are unsure about whether to get vaccinated, ... paying will most likely send the message that this is something you don't want to do without compensation," argued economics and psychology professor George Loewenstein and the economics professor Cynthia Cryder.
Delaney noted that other countries have tried similar programs: In rural India, vaccination camps offered small incentives (e.g. food) to immunize their children. As a result, the percentage of fully immunized children aged 1 to 3 years increased from 6% to 39%.
"If we thought the vaccine wasn't safe, we shouldn't approve it," he said. “So by definition, we're saying the vaccine is safe because we approve it. So I don't think there are ethical considerations when someone creates an incentive to take something that is safe that we believe is good for them.
Adriana Belmonte is a reporter and public health editor for Yahoo Finance. You can follow her on Twitter @adrianambells.
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