Swedish volunteers will be paid £17 each to be immunised in Europe’s largest test of whether small cash incentives can improve vaccine uptake…
The Swedish study, led by Erik Wengstrom, an economics professor at Lund University, uses gentler methods.
Over the next few weeks 8,200 unvaccinated people under the age of 60 will be split into different groups. Some will be given a voucher worth 200 Swedish kronor (£17) that can be used in most shops if they are vaccinated.
The money is a fraction of the sums being discussed in other countries, but Wengstrom said there was evidence from the US that as little as $25 (£18) was enough to persuade people.
He said: “People might have the intention to get vaccinated, but maybe there’s a little bit of hassle involved and something always gets in the way, so a small incentive might help.”
Other participants will be subjected to “nudge” techniques — attempts to influence people’s behaviour by guiding them towards a particular choice.
Some will be given leaflets about the vaccines’ benefits and side effects; others will be asked to think of the best argument to persuade others to have the vaccine. A third group will be told to draw up a list of their loved ones. “That’s basically encouraging them to think about how the vaccination might protect others,” Wengstrom said.