CORONAVIRUS

$1,500 stimulus check for covid-19 vaccine? Lowdown on the proposal

A former House representative says Americans should be paid to receive a coronavirus vaccine, in a bid to encourage more people in the US to get the shot.

$1,500 stimulus check for covid-19 vaccine: what's the proposal?
Rick Wilking Reuters

A former House Democrat is calling for a second stimulus check to be combined with a coronavirus vaccine in a bid to encourage Americans to accept the shot when it is rolled out.

Pay Americans $1,500 to get coronavirus vaccine, says John Delaney

John Delaney, who was the House representative for Maryland’s sixth district between 2013 and 2019, is proposing paying Americans $1,500 in exchange for being vaccinated, in what he says is a "two birds, one stone" move that would help end the pandemic and alleviate the economic crisis it has created.

Around 40% of people in US say they wouldn't accept vaccine

Skepticism over vaccines is widespread in the US, with recent research carried out by the non-partisan think tank Pew Research Center showing that only 60% of people in the country would be willing to receive an anti-coronavirus drug.

According to the research carried out by Pew in November, just 29% of Americans say they would definitely accept a vaccine if it were made available today, while 31% would probably say yes to the drug. Meanwhile, 39% say they would either probably or definitely reject it.

Delaney: "This solution is designed to get more people vaccinated"

Paying citizens to get the vaccine would help push the number of Americans ready to accept a shot up past the threshold at which herd immunity can be achieved, Delaney argues.

The most important thing for us to do at this moment in time is to get 75% of the American people vaccinated with the three, and soon probably to be four or five, vaccines that will be available starting at the end of this year, early next year,” Delaney told CNN in late November.

He added: “What I think we need to do is create an incentive to get that number up to 75% as quickly as possible. That will save lives, that will get our economy back much sooner, and the way to do that is to tie it to a stimulus plan.”

“The vaccines will [end the pandemic], but the existence of vaccines doesn’t do it. What does do it is people actually being vaccinated, and this solution is designed to get more people vaccinated."

US vaccinations could begin on Friday in wake of good Pfizer, Moderna, Oxford results

Vaccinations could begin in the US as early as next Friday, Food and Drug Administration adviser James Hildreth told NBC News on Saturday, with the FDA due to vote on Thursday on issuing emergency-use authorization for the drug developed by Pfizer/BioNTech.

“If the FDA Commissioner decides to issue approval, the EUA [emergency-use authorization], on that day when the vote is taken, as early as Friday of next week we could see vaccinations happening across the country,” Hildreth told the show ‘Weekend Today’, per Bloomberg.

Pfizer revealed in November that its candidate vaccine proved over 90% effective in clinical trials, and in the wake of that announcement the teams developing vaccines at Moderna and Oxford University/AstraZeneca also published 90%-plus efficacy rates.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has already been approved by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

No stimulus check in $900bn relief proposal

Months-long talks between Democrats and Republicans have failed to yield an agreement on a bipartisan stimulus package to follow March’s $2.2tn CARES Act, which included a round of stimulus checks of up to $1,200 for qualifying Americans.

This week, a bipartisan group of lawmakers put forward a $908 stimulus bill that President-elect Joe Biden has urged Congress to pass. Although it does not include a second check, Biden says he’d push for another bill after his inauguration, and has previously stated his support for a direct payment as part of a package.

“I think if they could get the $900bn that they’re talking about, that would be a good start - [but] it’s not enough,” Biden told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Thursday. He went on: “I’m going to have to ask for more when we get there, to get things done.”

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Biden added: “They’re on their way to being able to come up with a package that meets the basic immediate needs that we have, but I’ve made it real clear, it’s just a down payment.”

Live US latest news

You can stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis in the US with our dedicated rolling feed, which also has news on the transition to Joe Biden’s presidency, as current incumbent Donald Trump continues to refuse to concede defeat in November’s election.