Potential Vaccine lottery in Australia | 300$ incentive proposal

Senior Reporter

It’s almost been half a year since Australians began receiving COVID-19 vaccines but until this day, only 15.5% of the country’s population received both doses. Government officials are displeased with the laughable number and are eager to get the vaccination rate to at least 70%. Since the majority are uninterested, the concerned leaders are debating the possibility of introducing the vaccine lottery. The Prime minister is on board while the Labor leader is pushing for $300. 

Potential Vaccine Lottery in Australia | 300$ incentive proposal
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Most Australians don’t want the vaccine - perhaps it’s time for lottery prizes

Australians are in no rush to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Out of 84,433 cases, only 925 resulted in death. The 90 plus percent survival rate does not seem to cause any panic among the residents. However, the government officials are on pins and needles in attempts to catch up on vaccination rates. Prime Minister Scott Morrison is desperate to raise the numbers to at least 70%.

At this point, it’s useless to use fear tactics to sway Australians, but the government officials believe incentives could serve as an effective way to encourage the remainder of unenthused folks. Since the vaccine lottery in the US appeared to be a considerable success in the eyes of AU leaders, Prime Minister Scott Morrison is in full support of offering the exclusive prize draws in the country.

Shaky foundation for Australia's vaccination incentives

What’s interesting, is that government officials are concerned about a lockdown that could potentially cost AU $3.4B weekly, yet state that even under a higher vaccination rate they would continue imposing lockdowns and other restrictions. But even with the contradictions in mind, 21% of Australians reported that they aren’t planning on getting vaccinated anyway. Perhaps this is the very reason fear tactics won’t be effective - lockdowns are already next in line at the country’s waiting room.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese is pushing for an alternative plan - basic bribery of $300 to Australians who get at least one jab before December. Seems as the full vaccination is not on the priority list, as long as the vaccination rate goes up. Morrison was in favor of potential prizes for second dose participants but highlighted that it’s a good idea because it will ultimately cost less than the $300 incentive. The Prime Minister found the incentive to be degrading to Australians.

“That is an insult. That is an insult to every Australian. Those 80% of older Australians who have turned up and rolled up their sleeves, they didn’t need the cash. They just needed to know that it was good for them...The Leader of the Opposition’s proposal is a vote of no confidence and an insult to Australians, suggesting they won’t get vaccinated unless you dole out the cash” Morrison argued.

Ongoing debate offers a plethora of perspectives...

The vaccine rollout coordinator-general, Lieutenant General John Frewen is also in agreement with the lottery proposal, being that AstraZeneca, Pfizer sales will boom at the opportunity. However, Australian National University professor and infectious diseases physician Peter Collignon deemed the vaccine lottery to be a “bad idea” a shortage of vaccines is the main issue at the moment - not people’s hesitancy. Additional perspectives were also offered during the ongoing debates:

“The evidence suggests that cash payments are good for short, one-off behavioral change such as a visit to get vaccinated,” University of Melbourne economist, Anthony Scott stated.

Business Council of Australia chief Jennifer Westacott stepped in with a healthy medium and highlighted the importance of not making prizes the main driving point behind the vaccines,

“Nothing should be off the table...It’s not just one thing that’s going to get us over the line here. It’s got to be a really concerted effort around supply, around information, outlet, and of course incentives are part of that,” she suggested.

The debate is ongoing, and it’s still uncertain which one of the two incentive methods will get the ultimate vote among Australia’s government officials. One thing for certain is that at least one form of inducement will take place in the following weeks, as there are only a few months left until December, which appears to be Labor leader Albanese’s pinned due date.

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