Students Weigh In On Vaccine Incentives


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Max Mower

Bucks’ upper campus held a pop-up vaccination event, The Vaxx Blitz, awarding $100 to each of the first 200 newly vaccinated students, sparking an intense debate over vaccine incentives.
In Pennsylvania, the COVID-19 vaccine has been a generally controversial topic of discussion amongst the public. According to Our World in Data, about 55.8 percent of Pennsylvania’s population is fully vaccinated – but that leaves just under 50 percent of the state’s population who still remain on the fence about getting their shots.
This underwhelming turnout has brought about the start of vaccine incentives, a last-ditch-effort to convince citizens to get their vaccines with promise of a reward for doing so.
The advent of these cash-for-vaccine events have raised many concerns from those all over the county, both pro- and anti-vaccinators, about whether or not these events are fair to both those who already received their vaccines without compensation, as well as those who have no interest in getting it whatsoever.
On one side of the argument, some are concerned about possible side effects from the vaccine, even though there is overwhelming evidence that vaccines are safe and effective.
“It’s definitely questionable, and seems a bit forced,” said David Wheeler, a local server. “Especially for people like pregnant women, it’s very tricky. If there was more proof of the long-term effects, people would be easier to convince.”
As a matter of fact, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people who are pregnant get the COVID-19 vaccine, based on data underscoring its safety and effectiveness throughout pregnancy.
According to NPR, doctors across the country are reporting an uptick in the number of unvaccinated pregnant women getting hospitalized with severe cases of COVID-19.
Citizens who have already received their shots may have an issue with how common these incentive-based pop-up-events have become.
Arianna McGinley, a Bucks Engineering student, is “glad that people are at least getting vaccinated, but it’s frustrating that it’s taken so long to convince people. I understand the worries and concerns of those who don’t know the facts, but I had hoped that people would know this is safe, and for the greater good.”
These events and other incentives have become more and more common. Even Gov. Wolf announced, as seen on the PA Governor’s website, that state employees will be eligible for up to an extra 8 hours of paid time off after receiving their vaccinations.
“I don’t agree with (the incentives),” said Bucks County student Alexis Voorhees. “I went and got the shot for me and my family’s safety, and it’s unfair that those who didn’t support it before are now getting paid for it. Some people are just the weaker links. The vaccine should be mandatory.”
Despite the constant back and forth between those with differing opinions on the topic, there are some who are choosing to remain optimistic.
Joseph Dipento, a retired Bucks County resident, says that “Anything you can do to get someone to do it is worth. Money is a big motivator, and it’s good that it’s motivating people to help save lives. People are people, and some are so hard-headed they won’t ever do it – but it’s good we are getting some to without force.”
Despite its proven record of safety and effectiveness, the COVID-19 vaccine has been controversial among some people.
Whether or not the citizens of Bucks County are more willing to get the vaccine when presented with money and prizes as incentives remains to be seen.
Whatever the case, there are still many more people who have yet to get the shot.