Unemployed Americans hard up for cash might be able to get some quick coin in their pocket if they volunteer to be among the first to take a forthcoming COVID-19 vaccine currently being rushed to market.
Fox 17 Nashville reported that a Senior Fellow of Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution has proposed a plan to encourage vaccine participation, and by extension, herd immunity, by pushing the federal government to pay individuals $1,000 each to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it’s released.
According to recent studies relied on by the medical profession, the so-called “herd immunity” is expected to kick in when somewhere between 60-70 percent of the population in a given country has either been infected or has developed antibodies to a virus.
“With roughly 328 million Americans and 5.7 million of them testing positive for COVID-19, the total reflects around 1.7% of the population being infected based on test results,” the news outlet reported.
Robert E. Litan with the Brookings Institution the 60 percent needed for herd immunity is far enough away that they expect significant challenges in reaching it. He voiced concern about recent polling that showed around 35% of Americans don’t plan on getting vaccinated, despite this, and healthcare professionals admonishments that Americans should do their part to contribute to herd immunity.
While the 35 percent of Americans who have said they don’t plan to receive the new vaccine means that around 65 percent would receive it, Litan points out that they still need more people to get on board, since the vaccine won’t be 100 percent effective.
“If a vaccine were 75% effective, that would mean 80% of the population would need to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity. That means the 65% of people polled would still come up short of the 80% needing to get vaccinated,” Fox 17 reported.
To that end, Litan has proposed the $1,000 incentive to try to persuade at least 80 percent of Americans to receive the vaccine, including children. The economist theorized that it would assist those who are working their way through troubling financial times, especially those thrown into financial distress due to the pandemic.
Aside from the prospect of paying people to receive medical treatment, necessitated by fuzzy statistics, propelled by an incentive made needful by the side effects of the last government-sponsored plan to save lives (in the form of the economic shut down) the cost of this project alone is monumental.
According to Fox 17, the price tag for this endeavor would come to around $275 billion, if it’s taken advantage of by enough people to make it effective. However, Litan also hasn’t lost hope in the face of that potential tragedy, stating that it’s a much smaller amount of money than the more than two trillion spent by congress in its pandemic relief package.
“If we don’t get there,” Litan said of herd immunity, “we could face a future of continued economic malaise, at best, or far worse if the pandemic recession/depression drags on until the virus doesn’t.”
Americans have at least a little time to contemplate whether they’d like to become part of any plan to incentivize them to receive the vaccine. The program could still go one of multiple ways, including a plan that doesn’t offer any incentive at all.
What Americans don’t have is much time to figure out is how much they are willing to put their trust in a cure rushed to market by pharmaceutical companies that historically go for the short term payout versus patients long term health.