The Vaccine Lottery: An Overview
Boris Johnson, the prime minister of the UK, recently announced the easing of restrictions for his country. Face masks and vaccine passports will no longer be required. I want to make it clear that I am not “picking sides”. I will not be offering my opinion on whether these choices are “right” or “wrong”. I think there is a vast array of valid opinions on the matter and so I will not be judging the opinions of others. I also do not believe that I am knowledgeable enough about pandemics to make claims other than my own opinions based on personal feelings which are subject to change as I learn more. However, there is one aspect of the way that some places handled the pandemic that I want to express my feelings about. Again, I am not arguing whether this is right or wrong, I just want to express my discomfort and why…
Manitoba implemented a vaccine lottery. Every Manitoban who got vaccinated during a certain period was eligible to win $100,000. Other places in the USA have offered $100 incentives to everyone who gets a Covid vaccine. When conducting research, it is accepted that incentives should not be used to influence a person’s decision to participate, nor should they be used in research where distress may occur. I recognize that receiving the Covid vaccine is not the same as participating in a research study. However, the purpose of monetary incentives regarding the Covid vaccine may have persuaded some people to receive the vaccine that otherwise would not have consented to receiving it. I cannot help but feel uncomfortable that someone may have chosen to get vaccinated not for their safety or to protect others but for a monetary bonus. It just doesn’t feel appropriate. By using money as an incentive, it targets people struggling financially, which is overrepresented by non-dominant communities and those affected by the direct result of the pandemic.
Manitoba gave away almost 2 million dollars for vaccine incentives. By randomly giving that money away, it is possible that those who received the money have not been affected by the pandemic. Would it not make sense to give that money to the struggling health care system? Or to local businesses affected by the lockdowns. We currently have health care professionals experiencing burnout, and lack of resources. Our health care education programs do not have enough funding to expand the programs. Local businesses are having to sell their homes to keep their doors open. The businesses that are running are experiencing staffing shortages and lack of resources. We’ve been told that our health care system and local economy is being negatively affected by the pandemic, but we give 2 million away to random people as a pat on the back for getting a vaccine. The vaccine should be received because the individual wants to protect themselves and others, not because some wants/needs money. I hope that those who won the money and are not struggling financially were able to donate some of it to healthcare workers or other people affected by the pandemic. If it had been me that won, I would have donated half of it to the nurse’s society and given the rest as some big tips at our local restaurants!