Some Cities Will Pay Children to Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19

An adult and three kids wearing backpacks and hiking through a sunny forest.

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Vaccines for younger children could be a game-changer. Some cities are stepping up to promote compliance.

Key points

  • COVID-19 vaccines were recently approved for children as young as age 5.
  • Some cities are offering generous incentives for kids to get a shot.

On November 2, parents across the U.S. were able to breathe a sigh of relief when the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) authorized COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 5 to 11. Previously, only children ages 12 and older could get a jab.

Vaccinating more of the population could have a profound impact on the state of the outbreak -- and the economy. Protected children could mean fewer school shutdowns and fewer disruptions to businesses.

But not every parent is rushing to get their kids vaccinated. For some, it's a matter of fear. For others, it boils down to not thinking it's necessary since children frequently experience mild illness from COVID-19.

Some states are trying to motivate parents to get their children inoculated, and they're doing it with an incentive that tends to be effective: money.

Some children could get paid to get the COVID-19 vaccine

In New York City, children could score a $100 payday for getting a COVID-19 vaccine at a city-operated site. New York City is also offering incentives like tickets to popular tourist attractions and sporting events.

Meanwhile, Chicago is offering $100 gift cards to children ages 5 to 11 who get a vaccine through a public health clinic or event. And, the Chicago school district is closing on November 12 to make it easier for students to get a shot.

Elsewhere, incentives are being offered at the state level. In Minnesota, children could score a $200 Visa card for getting a vaccine. They also get an opportunity to be entered into a raffle for a $100,000 college scholarship.

Will financial incentives help boost vaccination rates?

For some people, the opportunity to collect money to stick in the bank may be motivation enough to get their kids vaccinated as quickly as possible. This especially holds true with the ever-expensive holiday season coming up.

Some parents may still opt to hold off so as to not be the first ones to give their children the vaccine. And for those who are adamantly opposed to vaccinating their kids, a $100 incentive isn't likely to make a difference.

Of course, there are also parents who are rushing to get their children vaccinated even without any added incentives. Since the summertime, the number of COVID-19 cases among children has increased. And illness aside, being infected has ramifications.

Infected children must automatically isolate at home, even if they're showing no symptoms. That could put parents in a position where they're forced to take unpaid time off from work until their children are allowed to go back to school and reenter society.

Ultimately, vaccinating children could help get the U.S. closer to normalcy. As of now, children under the age of 5 cannot get a vaccine, though health experts are hoping that will change in the coming months so that protection becomes available to babies and toddlers, too.

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