Missourians react to potential statewide COVID-19 vaccine incentives

Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 5:36 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Health officials in Missouri blame low vaccination rates and the more contagious delta variant for a surge in new COVID-19 cases.

While some states are enticing people to get vaccinated, people in the Heartland have some mixed opinions when it comes to those incentives.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson said he wants more people to get vaccinated.

When asked about incentives, Parson said all options are on the table.

While there’s no plans yet in Missouri, folks tell us they are divided on offering paydays or other perks to get the vaccine.

”It’s gotta be a sweet enough deal that people will actually take it up and do it,” Chris Goeke said.

Goeke was talking about incentives offered to get more Missourians vaccinated. He hoped more people decide to roll up their sleeves.

“We need a higher percentage of the population to be vaccinated and especially with the delta variant really coming into especially southwest Missouri but all over, just the more we can do to get people vaccinated the better so I’m all for it,” Goeke said.

In southeast Missouri, data reported on the state’s Vaccination Dashboard shows just 26.9 percent of people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. And while counties like Cape Girardeau, Scott and Mississippi have fully vaccinated more than 30 percent of residents there, others, including Pemiscot, Reynolds and Ripley Counties have vaccination rates below 20 percent.

Not everyone’s convinced incentives will help raise these numbers.

“I don’t think it will really make a difference, I think if they really wanted it, they were going to get it when it was really big and everybody was doing it and those that haven’t, I don’t feel like they’re going to do anything just to get something,” Picolla said.

Cape Pharmacist Loretta Lents said regardless of incentives offered in the future, taking the vaccine is a personal choice.

“My concern is that people who are scared of it or apprehensive about it, wanting to wait, that’s still going to be at the core of their decision, so when you add something political or government as an incentive, I think it’s going to make people a little frustrated,” Lents said.

On Wednesday, the state health department reported more than 800 new COVID-19 cases, which is one of the largest one-day totals since February.

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