(ORDO NEWS) — New work on American and Swedish material has shown that people who decide to get vaccinated because of a small monetary incentive do not change their behavior in a negative direction after such an experiment. This means that such “stimulation” makes sense as a state policy.
Even at the beginning of the coronavirus epidemic, a number of researchers noted that the reluctance of people to be vaccinated is the main risk factor in the epidemic.
A similar situation is observed all over the world: low-vaccinated countries showed terrifying losses, highly vaccinated – minimal.
However, plans to massively reward citizens for participating in vaccinations have traditionally been objected to. Some say that this practice will make the people who receive the money behave less sanely.
For example, refuse subsequent vaccinations if there is no new reward for them. Since after a few months the protection of a coronavirus vaccine (as with most viral diseases) drops to almost zero and a revaccination is required, this may be an important point.
Other opponents of the policy of “bribery of the population” note that it can in principle produce various undesirable consequences.
As, for example, during the massive subsidization of the population in Ancient Rome, when the distribution of bread and circuses led to the degradation of the urban population with its actual dropping out of the state and military service, followed by the degradation of public institutions.
A new paper in Nature tries to answer some of these questions. To do this, the researchers followed the behavior of more than five thousand people from Sweden.
In the experiment, about a third of the participants paid for the first shot of the drug to prevent Covid-19, but not for subsequent ones.
The remaining participants became the control group: they were not paid anything, but the parameters of behavior were measured.
Then the authors recorded the frequency and frequency with which the same people came for the second injection (end of the first immunization cycle) and the third (revaccination).
After that, they were asked how much they trust the manufacturers of the vaccine, whether they consider it safe and effective, and whether their attitude towards issues of public life has changed.
A similar design study was conducted for a group of three thousand American citizens.
After some of them gave small financial incentives for the first injection, the scientists clarified whether this fact changed the trust of study participants in government, their ideas about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, and their desire to donate blood or get vaccinated against the flu.
It should be noted that the findings of the study should be interpreted with caution, as the reward, given the level of income in the affected countries, was rather symbolic.
In Sweden – only 24 dollars, in the USA it was about amounts of the same order.
For comparison: under Catherine II, to start smallpox vaccination, the state paid the traditionally anti-vaccination population (more precisely, its uneducated part) a ruble in silver (corresponding to tens of thousands of rubles today).
It turned out that neither in Sweden nor in the US there is any noticeable statistical difference between the behavior of people who received a reward and those who did not receive it.
Both groups came for the second vaccination at the same time and were equally likely to be vaccinated. Their confidence in the vaccine and its manufacturers has not fallen.
Those participants in the control groups who were told that such an incentive program existed, but were not offered to participate in it, also did not show any negative changes in behavior.
From this, the authors conclude that the use of modest vaccination rewards is a very effective public policy tool that can be applied fearlessly.
Unfortunately, another thing remains unclear: to what extent such small amounts in practice can change the behavior of large masses of people. The design of the work did not provide for a dense analysis of this issue.
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