SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Noting that vaccine incentives are becoming more and more popular across the nation, Utah governor Spencer J. Cox addressed the possibility of motiving Utahns to get vaccinated with some type of reward.
Although, as of Thursday’s briefing, Cox isn’t sure what that incentive would be quite yet.
“We must think out of the box,” Cox said, while adding that he has been working with the legislature to come up with “new and innovative ideas” as incentives. Social psychology experts have also been consulted as the state explores ways to motive vaccine-hesitant folks to get an appointment and receive it.
Cox, Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, and Utah Department of Health deputy director Michelle Hofmann all noted that Utah currently has an imbalance of vaccine supply compared to where the demand is at. Around 58% of eligible Utahns have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, something that Henderson applauded, but also said needs to improve quickly as virus variants continue to form.
The State of Ohio announced on Wednesday a million-dollar drawing as an incentive for vaccination. Cox noted that this was an interesting idea, and although that raffles or gambling don’t happen in Utah, a similar idea is being worked on with the legislative and legal teams at the state level.
“There is no amount of money that is too much to help us get an extra 5 or 10% of people vaccinated,” Cox said.
He also added that he is open to any other ideas for incentives, saying “send them our way.”
“We really have to think outside the box, this is a thing that happens once every 100 years, we shouldn’t treat it like just another thing,” Cox continued.
Still, Cox continued that point in his address by saying that he hopes people aren’t motivated by a personal gain to get the vaccine.
“I hope that people won’t need some sort of outside motivation, that they’ll do it because it protects them, it protects their family, it protects their neighbors, it protects our economy,” Cox said of the vaccine.
Cox also mentioned that any vaccine incentive would be something that would be earned by anyone who already has been vaccinated and not just towards those going forward.