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Former Democratic Congressman proposes $1,500 stimulus check as incentive to get Covid-19 vaccine

It would cost the government nearly $380 billion.

Updated: December 4, 2020 - 7:12pm

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A former Democratic Congressman has proposed the idea of paying Americans $1,500 to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. 

Entrepreneur and politician John Delaney is a former U.S. representative from Maryland who also ran for president in the 2020 election before dropping out in January. Delaney told CNBC in an interview that 75% of the country needs to be vaccinated fast, and to do so, a financial incentive may help.

“We have to create, in my judgment, an incentive for people to really accelerate their thinking about taking the vaccine,” he said. “If you’re still afraid of the vaccine and don’t want to take it, that’s your right."

The idea, which could be claimed as a way to save the U.S. economy at the same time as saving lives with the vaccine, would cost the government about $380 billion, much more than the $270 billion first round of stimulus checks.

“The faster we get 75% of this country vaccinated, the faster we end Covid and the sooner everything returns to normal, which means we don’t need any more programs,” Delaney said.

There are no current stimulus proposals on Capitol Hill that tie in a vaccine requirement. The proposal brings into question how the government would keep track of vaccine records with a database. And it creates other dilemmas in light of the CDC announcement that older people should receive vaccines first. With the projected rollout of the vaccine, it could take the lower-priority people as much as six months before they would see their stimulus checks.

When three former presidents vow to receive the vaccine in public as a confidence booster while others propose paying Americans thousands of dollars to inject themselves with the free-of-cost vaccine, many start to wonder why so much persuasion is needed for something supposedly 95% effective and safe.

“You’re going to benefit anyhow, because we’ll get the country to herd immunity faster, which benefits you. So I think everyone wins.”