Another round of stimulus checks looks very unlikely as the government is now preparing to get the vaccine out to people. However, if a new idea is anything to go by, then Americans could get $1,500 in coronavirus stimulus checks in exchange for taking the COVID-19 vaccine.
This new idea of checks in exchange of vaccination comes from John Delaney, an entrepreneur and a former Democratic congressman for Maryland. Delaney also ran for president in 2020.
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“The faster we get 75 percent of this country vaccinated, the faster we end Covid and the sooner everything returns to normal,” Delaney told CNBC.
Backing his idea, Delaney said that public polls have found that whether or not to take a vaccine has become a political issue. According to a Gallup poll, 58% of people are willing to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
Thus, Delaney believes that people need to be given some incentive “to really accelerate their thinking about taking the vaccine.” Even after the incentive, if people chose not to take the vaccine, then it’s their “right.”
“You won’t participate in this program,” Delaney said.
Even those who don’t participate in the program would eventually benefit, he says. “You’re going to benefit anyhow, because we’ll get the country to herd immunity faster, which benefits you. So I think everyone wins,” Delaney said.
Explaining why giving the incentive isn’t wrong, Delaney says the U.S. already has similar plans to encourage people to get other vaccines, such as children needing them to go to school.
“It’s not like we don’t pull levers to get people vaccinated,” Delaney said. “We do that now.”
Delaney also gave an example of countries that reimburse people for vaccination. For instance, the Mexican government pays people to get their children immunized.
Is the program worth the cost?
Talking about the execution of the plan, Delaney says a system will be created that will send people a number once they are vaccinated. Such people will have to enter this number along with their Social Security number, in order, to get the stimulus check.
Delaney says sending $1,500 coronavirus stimulus checks to Americans in exchange for vaccination could cost about $380 billion. The cost of the $1,200 stimulus checks, sent under the CARES Act, was about $270 billion.
Though Delaney says $380 billion is too much, he believes it is effective and worth it as it would end the need of any other aid. Congress is currently negotiating a package, which if approved, would certainly cost much more than $380 billion. Democrats are demanding a package of $2.2 trillion, while Senate Republicans are in favor of a small package of about $500 billion.
“The faster we end Covid and the sooner everything returns to normal, which means we don’t need any more programs,” Delaney said.