04 May COVID-19: $1000 Incentive Increased Vaccination Rates
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Archelle Georgiou, MD
Chief Health Officer for Starkey
Starkey Hearing Technologies
Eden Prairie, Minnesota
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: In August 2021, Starkey introduced a vaccination incentive program for employees in the U.S. to provide education on COVID-19 and encourage vaccinations. The program encouraged employees to watch and acknowledge online educational information and report their vaccination status. Those fully vaccinated and who submitted proof of vaccination by September 2021, including employees who were vaccinated prior to the incentive announcement, received $1,000.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: Starkey’s program resulted in 97.9% of eligible employees reporting their vaccination status. Prior to the announcement of the program, 75.7% (1555) of employees were fully vaccinated. At the conclusion of the incentive program, 86.1% (1769) of employees were vaccinated – a 10.4 percentage point increase in vaccination rate. Furthermore, among the 500 employees not fully vaccinated prior to the announcement, 42.8% (214) became fully vaccinated.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: This program included BOTH education on COVID vaccination as well as a financial incentive. The remarkable increase in vaccination uptake (42.8%) in the previously unvaccinated group suggests that objective information and a meaningful incentive can positively influence healthcare choices.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: This research reflect the results in a single employer offering a $1000 incentive. Future research should evaluate the impact of this program approach across multiple employers and across different industries. In addition, there would be value in researching the impact of smaller (and maybe larger) incentive amounts.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
- COVID has disproportionately impacted people with hearing loss since masks and social distancing muffle speech and eliminate lip reading as a form of communication. As an employer, Starkey has always been committed to the health of its 5000 employees. But, during the pandemic, it’s been even more critical that the company keep employees healthy so that we can continue to manufacture hearing aids and deliver hearing related services to patients.
- I am Chief Health Officer of Starkey Hearing Technologies and lead author for this study. However, a co-author of the study is Dr. Pinar Karaca-Mandic, professor of health economics at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.
Georgiou A, Chang J, Karaca-Mandic P. Association of Large Financial Incentives With COVID-19 Vaccination Uptake Among Employees of a Large Private Company. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(4):e229812. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.9812
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