Looking Forward: Incentivizing The COVID-19 Vaccine
To the Editor:
On Labor Day of 2020, President Donald Trump held a conference in which he announced the state of a COVID-19 vaccine, “we remain on track to deliver a vaccine before the end of the year and maybe even before November 1st.” Although we have entered into November and have yet to see these results, there is immense pressure to formulate a responsible and safe way to implement and distribute this potential vaccine.
According to a poll from KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) Health Tracking, as of September of 2020, 62 percent of Americans “worry that the political pressure from the Trump Administration will lead the Food and Drug Administration to rush to approve a coronavirus vaccine without making sure it is safe and effective.” This reveals how significant it is that on both the federal and state level, there must be full transparency to ensure vaccine uptake. Moreover, to promote willingness, there should be implementation of an incentive or penalty to support vaccination during this time.
As we look into the future and hopefully the end to this global pandemic, I think it is important to ensure that there are proper policies in place which support vaccine uptake. Through full transparency and a formal incentive system, I think the United States will be able to properly implement the COVID-19 vaccine. By choosing to incentivise rather than penalize, I think we are adding a sense of positivity towards vaccine policy rather than negativity. Moreover, by implementing an incentive for people to get the vaccine there would also be an increase in the willingness of Americans to reach herd immunity.
A proposed idea is providing state governments funding, which they may use to incentivise individuals which live in their state to get the vaccine and achieve herd immunity. This could be along the lines of funding for public need or a reduction on state taxes for individuals and/or families.
The Commerce Clause and Spending Clause of the Constitution allows for the federal government to fund this type of incentive on a state by state basis. Since the federal government’s position of power on vaccine mandates is restricted in comparison to state authority, it is evident that they must take other routes to support mandates. Through the Commerce Clause, Congress is granted the power to “regulate Commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states.”
The Spending Clause provides Congress the power “to offer federal funds to nonfederal entities and prescribe the terms and conditions under which the funds are accepted and used by recipients.” Through this the federal government would be able to implement the means for incentives that the states could give their residents. By administering funds that support the residents of the states, the government is putting pressure and encouragement on individuals to get the vaccine. This implementation could assist in reaching herd immunity in the United States and therefore a potential end to this global pandemic.
3 Hi Barlow Road, Newtown November 2, 2020
Shaw is a junior at Providence College, majoring in health policy and management with a political science minor.