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President Biden asks states to offer $100 vaccine incentives

A study found roughly one-third of unvaccinated individuals said a cash payment would make them more likely to get a COVID-19 shot.

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is asking states and cities around the country to use federal rescue funds to provide $100 payments to individuals who get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The cash incentive was one idea promoted in Biden’s latest plan to boost lagging vaccination rates in many parts of the nation. The core of his new plan, announced on Thursday afternoon, is a requirement for federal workers to disclose their vaccination status to their employers or face strict guidelines.  

Biden is also directing the Defense Department to look into adding the COVID-19 shot to its list of required vaccinations for members of the military. And he has directed his team to take steps to apply similar requirements to all federal contractors.

"Today, the President will call on states, territories, and local governments to do more to incentivize vaccination, including offering $100 to those who get vaccinated," The White House said in a statement. "Throughout America’s vaccination efforts, we have seen that financial incentives serve as a motivating factor for some people to get vaccinated."

Several states have offered financial prizes to encourage citizens to get vaccinated. States like New Mexico, Ohio and Colorado experimented with the idea, and on Wednesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo kicked off a $100 incentive for New Yorkers similar to Biden's plan.

The White House says the Kroger grocery store chain tried it as well, and saw vaccination rates jump to 75% from 50% among employees. And in a study conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles, roughly one-third of unvaccinated individuals said a cash payment would make them more likely to get a shot.