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Money is not everything: experimental evidence that payments do not increase willingness to be vaccinated against COVID-19


Rapid, large-scale uptake of new vaccines against COVID-19 will be crucial to decrease infections and end the pandemic. In a recent article in this journal, Julian Savulescu argued in favour of monetary incentives to convince more people to be vaccinated once the vaccine becomes available. To evaluate the potential of his suggestion, we conducted an experiment investigating the impact of payments and the communication of individual and prosocial benefits of high vaccination rates on vaccination intentions. Our results revealed that none of these interventions or their combinations increased willingness to be vaccinated shortly after a vaccine becomes available. Consequently, decision makers should be cautious about introducing monetary incentives and instead focus on interventions that increase confidence in vaccine safety first, as this has shown to be an especially important factor regarding the demand for the new COVID-19 vaccines.

  • psychology
  • public health ethics
  • health promotion

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