How Local Incentives Can Help Accelerate the Vaccination Effort

By:

  • Eduardo Cisneros
  • Jacob Leibenluft
July 30, 2021

For communities across America, no task is more urgent than turning the tide on the pandemic, and there is no better tool than vaccination. 

With the highly transmissible Delta variant on the rise and vaccination rates below where they should be in too many places, President Biden called on states, territorial, and local governments this week to use funding they received, including State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds from the American Rescue Plan, to give $100 to anyone who gets newly vaccinated. As President Biden said, “If incentives help us beat this virus, I believe we should use them.  We all benefit if we can get more people vaccinated.”

Throughout America’s vaccination efforts, we have seen that financial incentives serve as a motivating factor for some people to get vaccinated. When the grocery store Kroger started offering $100 to their associates to get vaccinated, it saw vaccination rates increase from 50% to 75%. According to research from the University of California, Los Angeles, roughly one-third of unvaccinated individuals said a cash payment would make them more likely to get a shot.

State, territorial, and local governments can use the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to provide incentives to increase the number of people who choose to get vaccinated, or that motivate people to get vaccinated sooner than they otherwise would have. States like New Mexico, Ohio, and Colorado and local governments like New York City, Columbus, Ohio, and Gadsden, Alabama are offering similar incentive programs that have helped increase vaccination rates. 

The National League of Cities continues to be a key partner to this Administration and local governments both in meeting this public health challenge and in continuing to ensure an effective implementation of the American Rescue Plan. That is why we are encouraging you to use American Rescue Plan funds to enhance your vaccination efforts and provide individual vaccine incentives of $100 to anyone who gets newly vaccinated.  

Earlier this spring, Treasury issued a Frequently Asked Question making clear that recipients may use Fiscal Recovery Funds to pay for vaccine incentive programs. Under the Interim Final Rule, recipients may support – as measures to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency – programs that provide incentives expected to increase the number of people who choose to get vaccinated so long as such costs are reasonably proportional to the expected public health benefit.  The U.S. Department of the Treasury stands ready to give technical assistance to state, territorial, and local governments so that they may use the funds effectively to support increased vaccination in their communities and will partner with the Department of Health and Human Services throughout this effort.

Local leaders can email IGA46@WHO.eop.gov or SLFRP@treasury.gov with any questions or to share how you are implementing vaccine incentives programs in your communities. Thank you again for your continued partnership.

About the Authors

Eduardo Cisneros

About the Authors

Eduardo Cisneros, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for COVID-19, White House Office of COVID Response

Jacob Leibenluft

Jacob Leibenluft, Chief Recovery Officer, U.S. Department of the Treasury