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Could making the Swiss pay for Covid vaccine boost sluggish jab rates?

Could a price be set on Switzerland's Covid vaccines?
Swiss government should make people pay for coronavirus shots to boost vaccination rate, an expert says. Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash
Switzerland is trying to bolster its Covid-19 inoculation rate, which lags behind EU countries, by offering a financial incentive. But one expert says there is a more effective way to tackle this problem - make people pay.

Last week, Health Minister Alain Berset announced that in order to encourage more people to get vaccinated, 50-franc vouchers will be given to anyone who persuades a vaccine holdout to get inoculated.

Several cantons have already criticised the proposed measure.

“For both ethical and practical reasons, we firmly refuse any payment for a health act,” Neuchâtel local authorities in Neuchâtel noted. “It would create a very problematic precedent which could open the door to the commercialisation of organ donation, blood donations, etc”.

Switzerland’s vaccination rate is lower than many other nations’. Image by Our World in Data

Christian Fichter, a Swiss psychologist specialising in social economics, agrees that the monetary bonus proposed by the government is  counterproductive.

“I don’t think it would work, except in a few cases”, he said in an interview.

“Those who are already critical of vaccination could become even more suspicious of the 50-franc bonus”, Fichter added.

Instead, he proposed a more drastic approach: to make people pay for their Covid shots.

A method that would be more effective would be similar to the “Black Friday” strategy used by the retail industry: offering heavy discounts for a limited time to attract consumers.

“If the shots cost 50 francs in December, 100 francs in March, and so on, that would help people understand the value of vaccination”, Fichter said.

“We have to make people understand that vaccination is something precious that is only offered free of charge in exceptional cases”.

So far, there has not been any official response to Fichter’s suggestion, so for the time being the 50-franc incentive is the only proposal on the table.

READ MORE: 50 francs: What is Switzerland’s new ‘vaccination bonus’?


Member comments

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  1. The 50 Franc bonus is a terrible idea.
    Persuading others to get the vaccine is already a sensitive issue. Doing it for money is unthinkable.
    Having a deadline is much better. After the deadline people should pay whatever it costs the government in material, labour, and whatever other costs there are.

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