hand holding COVID-19 vaccine vial

New York City has started to offer $100 to unvaccinated people to encourage them to take the Covid vaccine.

The New York City offer is good only at New York City sites, not at CVS or a local urgent care center.  A vaccinated person has to register, and then gets the incentive after getting fully vaccinated, health department officials said in a recent orientation webinar. The city site says the incentive is available after a first shot.

NYC Covid vaccine finder

To find New York City sites offering the $100 incentive, go to the vaccinefinder.nyc.gov site, and choose “Locations.” If you search in a zip code, the results will display places that do offer the incentive, while places that don’t have no note. See screenshot at right.

The Biden administration announced vaccine requirements for federal workers on July 29, and also urged cities and states to institute the incentives. Just a few days before, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City and Gov. Gavin Newsom of California announced that they would give the $100 incentives.

Other incentives are also available — a Public Theater membership, New York City Football Club or Brooklyn Cyclones tickets, or a Statue of Liberty and ferry ticket, among others.

Once your first COVID-19 vaccine dose is complete, you will receive an email with instructions on how to select your money or incentive, the site says.

The policy appears to be having an effect, even if it’s young: The New York Times wrote a story about how people are choosing to get vaccinated. The first anecdote is about a man living in a shelter who wanted the $100.

New York State incentives include free transit tickets, free lottery scratchoff tickets, a drawing for a college scholarship and tickets to sports games.

Organizations that refer New York City residents to a place where they get a shot can also get a $100 referral bonus if the person in question cites us as the source of their vaccine navigation, up to a total of $20,000. To enter the program, organizations must first register at this page.

In West Virginia, trucks and guns; in Indiana, Girl Scout cookies

Other states and cities have instituted various kinds of incentives. West Virginia, for example, had a lottery including cash prizes, custom trucks and custom hunting rifles and shotguns.

Alabama is offering people who are tested or vaccinated an opportunity to drive on the Talladega Speedway and a TikTok contest with prizes for people between 13 and 29 to make vaccine-promoting videos, with four winners taking $250 prizes, according to the National Governors Association. In Indiana, people who get vaccinated at specially designated sites get a box of Girl Scout cookies. In Idaho, state employees who get or choose to get the vaccine get four hours of paid leave.

Jeanne Pinder

Jeanne Pinder  is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded...