A US state, West Virginia has said it would offer young people a $100 (£72) savings bond if they receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
West Virginia says it hopes the payment for those aged 16 to 35 will “motivate” them to get the jab. “Our kids today probably don’t really realise just how important they are in shutting this thing down,” State Governor Jim Justice said on Monday.
West Virginia had been among the top US states for vaccination rates, but progress has slowed in recent weeks. There are particular concerns that younger people may be more hesitant about receiving a jab.
The incentive means those who are vaccinated within the age group can retrieve the $100, plus interest, at a later date. It will also be offered to anyone aged 16 to 35 who has already been vaccinated.
West Virginia has the 16th highest rate of new coronavirus cases per person among US states, according to the New York Times.
About 52% of its 1.5 million eligible residents have received at least one dose, Governor Justice said, but he added some 40% of the population might be hesitant about getting the jab.
“I’m trying to come up with a way that’s truly going to motivate them, and us, to get over the hump,” he added.
The payments will be funded by a $1.9tn (£1.4tn) coronavirus relief package, known as CARES, that came into law in the US last month.
The Governor said the state had “vetted this in every way” to ensure the funds can legitimately be used for the savings bonds.
Studies have shown young adults are more likely to be hesitant about getting a COVID-19 vaccine than their elders. Some 25% of US adults aged 18 to 29 say they want to “wait and see” before getting a jab, compared to just 7% of those aged over 65, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted last month.
Everyone in the US over 16 is now eligible to be vaccinated. Just over half of all US adults have now received at least one dose, reports the Centre for Disease Control.