For a time in Australia, we thought we were safe from COVID-19. But now with the new Delta variant there has been a new awakening. But not for all. Some are still not convinced COVID-19 is a deadly virus. Therefore, what is the best way to convince people to get the vaccine? Incentives, information, or influencer’s?
Joe Biden, the President of the United States of America (US) is encouraging US States to offer a $100 cash incentive for people to get the COVID-19 vaccine. US Federal workers are required to show proof of vaccination or have to participate in mandatory testing and mask wearing. Under half of the US are vaccinated.
This past week the leader of the Federal opposition in Australia, Anthony Albanese, proposed that Australians receive $300 to get vaccinated. He believes it would be a good economic stimulant. But is this the right way to go? That is, to pay people to do their civic duty, to be responsible citizens.
But what is going on with the number of people in the over 60 age group? Have they buried their head in the sand? There is plenty of AstraZeneca vaccine and it is safe for this age group. Why are they scared? Did they listen to those who were scaremongering? Will an incentive work for this group of people?
What we now know is that the Delta variant of the virus is highly contagious. The only way that the world can get back to living like we did before COVID_19 is to be vaccinated. The evidence is glaring us in the face. The data shows that of all the recent hospitalisations and deaths, all were unvaccinated. That is, apart from one person, who only had one AstraZeneca injection.
Everyone can access information about the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccinations. But they have to look in the right places. Find information from those informed, information that is endorsed by medical experts. Not information from those who are misinformed.
Everyone with a little effort can find out about trends happening overseas and locally. Read the newspapers, in print or online or read my blog article. Watch the television with interviews by the experts – virologists, epidemiologists, and statisticians.
It took a widespread outbreak of the Delta variant in New South Wales for people to start hearing the information – get vaccinated! They have seen and experienced firsthand the dangers of being unvaccinated. Now people are out in droves, lining up to get vaccinated.
Would influencer’s work better than incentives? Already I am seeing influencer’s at work. Olympic champions who have had the vaccine. Those who got their medals in 2021. Not only can they explain to their children and grandchildren in the years ahead about the 2020-2021 Olympics, they can claim Olympiad COVID-19 influencer fame.
In the USA they are using social influencer’s to encourage people to get vaccinated. In Australia the Federal Government has launched a $24 million advertising campaign to get the message out that the vaccine is safe and effective.
But who are the real influencer’s? I believe it is the mums and dads, our friends and family, our next-door neighbours. Everyone who has had the jab shouting out the good news that they have had the jab. But what about a badge? I could trade-in my ‘Ukulele Lady’ badge for ‘I’ve had the jab’ badge. I could wear it everywhere I go in Toowoomba, a new influencer!
I do not think that incentives are the answer. Incentives might change the behaviour of some. Influencer’s who are pro vaccination will help. But I would like to see people think for themselves, be informed, and behave responsibly. It will save their life and save the lives of others too.