Kansas should consider cash incentive to convince more people to get COVID-19 vaccine
Here’s the deal, Kansas: More of you need to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
According to the latest data from the Bloomberg tracking website, 42.3% of Kansans have received at least one dose of the vaccine. A bit less than one-third of the state’s population — 31% — is fully vaccinated.
That’s not enough.
To truly eradicate COVID-19, to make it a distant memory, we need herd immunity. That means that enough people are resistant to the virus, either through vaccination or previous illness, that it can’t spread easily. Think about diseases like measles or polio, which have been all but eliminated through just this method.
But to achieve herd immunity in this case takes commitment and dedication from everyone. Some researchers estimate that up to 80% or more of the population will need to be vaccinated to reach that point.
And we’re not there yet.
Let’s state a few facts for all of those who may be reading this who aren’t already vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. They will prevent you from becoming ill in the vast majority of cases. While a tiny percentage of those receiving the vaccine could contract the virus, their symptoms will likely be mild. This is a big deal.
Secondly, there are vaccines available. The country as a whole has reached a tipping point, with more vaccine supply than demand. If you’ve been putting off an appointment because you didn’t think you would qualify for a vaccine, don’t delay. The shots are out there.
Finally, the vaccines don’t just protect you from illness. Research shows they also block transmission to others, which means you’ll be helping your community. And by reducing the number of sick people, you will help prevent variants from developing or spreading.
But perhaps that’s not enough. Perhaps we need more.
West Virginia could offer a model. The state government there is offering young people — those between age 16 and 35 — a $100 savings bond. These folks, who are least likely to suffer severe COVID symptoms, are also less likely to be vaccinated.
A program like that might work in Kansas. Given the federal aid flowing into the state to battle the pandemic, we likely have the resources. And what could be better at ending the pandemic than simply having the most people vaccinated as possible?
We’ve come a long way in the past year. But we have a ways to go. Keep taking precautions, and get your shot as soon as possible.