“We wanted to supercharge it by saying we’ll give you an extra, direct, personal incentive to get this done now,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told the city on Wednesday, making it clear that New York’s future was one in which “more and more things are going to be determined by whether you’re vaccinated or not.”
Some 54.4% of New Yorkers had been fully vaccinated as of Wednesday, with the number jumping to 65.5% for fully vaccinated adults.
The latest incentive comes after the city and various corporate partners have offered free MetroCards, Junior’s cheesecake, Krispy Kreme donuts, and Nathan’s hot dogs (seemingly choosing to overlook Covid-19’s obesity comorbidity), lottery tickets, Uber and Lyft rides to vaccination sites, museum tickets, and scholarships. Free marijuana was even provided, technically illegally, by an activist group, thanks to Cuomo dragging his feet on appointing the necessary supervisory board after legalizing sale of the drug in March. The city even offered free vaccinations to tourists in what turned out to be a woefully premature anticipation of New York “opening up” for tourism once again.
Many were skeptical that the payment – a pittance in a location where the average rent approaches a whopping $4,000 per month – would get people to the needle who hadn’t already had their shots, while others wondered the reverse: what would stop people from wandering in for repeat shots every time they needed cash?