Protesters rally against vaccine mandates on November 20, 2021 in New York City.
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to the country’s wider population.
Al Dowie, a professor of medical ethics and law at the University of Glasgow, said that mandatory vaccination was not inherently controversial “depending on the context,” noting that doctors in Britain are already expected to be inoculated against common communicable diseases.
“Coercion is ethically justifiable when the risk to public health is sufficiently great,” he said in an email. “Healthcare is a risk-laden phenomenon, and there must always be residual risk. The question is what level of risk is deemed acceptable.”
to incentivize vaccine uptake, but from doctors at Boston University School of Medicine later found no evidence that Ohio’s lottery incentive had boosted uptake.
Alternative research has found that financial incentives could be useful in encouraging immunization. A Swedish studyfound that paying people the equivalent of $24 lifted vaccination uptake by 4%. Researchers that this was “a little bit of extra motivation to get vaccinated,” however, rather than a tool to change the minds of ardent skeptics.
During the pandemic, several governments, including those of, have given millions of citizens checks worth between $930 and $1,280 in an effort to keep their economies afloat. Savulescu said he suspected that offering people one-off payments with the same value would increase vaccination rates and protect economies by preventing further lockdowns.
“How effective these interventions are is poorly understood, and will likely depend on the culture, the level of incentive or coercion, the ability to sort of enforce it, and so on,” he said. “I think in general, it’s preferable to start with incentives rather than moving directly to coercion.”
Cherian said that while offering incentives to boost vaccination was not an unethical strategy at its core, he was skeptical about the efficacy of both coercion and incentivization tactics.
“Those who are in support of public health will be willing to get the vaccine regardless of consequences or incentives,” he told CNBC. “Those that are on the fence can be incentivized. However, for individuals who for whatever reason are extremely opposed to being vaccinated, coercive policies may actually have the opposite effect, and make those individuals even more distrustful of the vaccines that someone is trying to force on them.”