Covid vaccine incentives make U.S. look ‘like a nation of sulky adolescents,’ doctor says

Dr. Peter Hotez said Tuesday that the optics of having to incentivize the Covid vaccine do not put the U.S. in a positive light to the rest of the world.

“When people are clamoring for vaccines in India and in Brazil, it just makes us look like a nation of sulky adolescents. … So if it’s absolutely necessary, sure, although it’s tough to swallow,” said Hotez, who is the dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine.  

A recent survey from UCLA showed that roughly one-third of unvaccinated people said a $100 cash payment would make them more likely to get a shot.

The pace of vaccinations has been slipping nationwide. The U.S. is averaging about 2.3 million shots per day, which is down 32% from the peak last month, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The federal government is changing vaccine allocation strategies across the country amid the slowing pace of vaccinations. States can turn down doses that they don’t need and the shots will be redistributed to areas with higher demand. 

Hotez, co-director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children’s Hospital, told CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith,” that there is a risk in the new strategy. 

“In terms of sending away unused doses to other states, the risk of that one is, we do create this red state/blue state divide where we stop transmission in some parts of the country, but not others,” said Hotez.

Multiple surveys have found that Republicans are more likely to say they don’t want a vaccine.

Hotez explained to host Shepard Smith that in several Northeastern blue states, more than half the population has received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine and, as a result, there’s been greater decreases in coronavirus infections over the last two weeks.

Red states like Alabama, Tennessee, and Wyoming, however, are experiencing much smaller vaccination rates and higher infection rates than their blue-state counterparts, Hotez said. 

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