New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, said in a statement that 50,000 residents have accepted a $100 incentive to take the vaccine.
The statement notes that the bulk of the $100 cards were granted to “New Yorkers of color,” and that the distribution was carried through at city-run vaccine sites.
“Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is easy, safe, and even comes with a bonus [of] $100 at city-run sites,” de Blasio said.
“I’m thrilled 50,000 New Yorkers have taken advantage of this incentive so far. This is clearly a smart, effective way to drive up vaccination rates. It’s proof that more cities and states across the country should follow President Biden’s urging to adopt New York City’s $100 incentive.”
The initiative for New York, made public during the last days of July, also included the option to get free tickets, gifts, or memberships instead of the $100 pre-paid debit card.
President Joe Biden called on states to offer the $100 incentive during a speech on July 29.
“I’m calling on all states and local governments to use funding they have received, including from the American Rescue Plan, to give $100 to anyone who gets fully vaccinated,” Biden said.
The American Rescue Plan is a legislative package that aims to provide relief to families and communities that were economically affected by COVID-19.
Several other states are also offering incentives to have people take the shot.
“I know that paying people to get vaccinated might sound unfair to folks who’ve gotten vaccinated already, but here’s the deal: If incentives help us beat this virus, I believe we should use them. We all benefit if we can get more people vaccinated.”
According to New York City data, of the residents who took the monetary incentive, 43 percent were Hispanic, 21 percent were black, 13 percent Asian, and 9 percent white.
Furthermore, 23 percent were under 18 years of age, 36 percent were between 19 and 34, and 38 percent were between 35 and 64.
Mayor de Blasio recently announced a vaccine pass mandate for restaurants, gyms, and performances in the city, which will be enforced on Sept. 13. It is not clear how the businesses would verify the authenticity of the passes.
Some people’s hesitation to take the shots has given rise to forged vaccine passes.
On Aug. 5, Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.), the only Republican representing a significant part of New York City in Congress, and other NYC officials sent a letter to de Blasio demanding a reversal of “this unfair directive immediately.”
“This ‘vaccine passport’ directive not only forces small businesses to deny service to their customers, but it prohibits large swaths of our communities from participating in regular society,” the letter reads.
“It is clear to us and our constituents—most of whom have received the COVID-19 vaccine—that this directive represents an extraordinary level of government overreach.”