This could leave about half of vaccine-eligible New Yorkers feeling cheated but mayoral candidate Ray McGuire proposes the city offer a $100 voucher that could be spent at local businesses and restaurants to encourage 1 million more New Yorkers to get the jab.
McGuire, the former Citigroup executive, said Thursday the city could tap federal COVID-19 stimulus funds to pay for the $100 million vaccination incentive program.
“Providing an incentive will not only help encourage more people to get vaccinated, it will stimulate the economy,” McGuire said.
“I’m also not waiting until I’m mayor to accelerate the rate of New Yorkers getting vaccinated. As a part of our campaign, our field teams are in the neighborhoods with the lowest vaccination rates, knocking on the doors of some of the hardest to reach New Yorkers and giving them information about the nearest vaccination sites.”
McGuire claims the $100 voucher program will help save the city money in the long run by avoiding the cost of empty vaccination sites.
He said the voucher plan is in line with his city comeback plan to provide aid and support to small businesses hammered by closings and social distancing safety restrictions during the pandemic.
McGuire said the voucher plan is aimed at boosting vaccination rates in the city’s lower-income and minority neighborhoods, where fewer people have been inoculated from the deadly virus.
The latest stats show that 53 percent of city adults have received one dose. But only 29 percent of Blacks and 35 percent of Latinos have, compared to about half of whites and two-thirds of Asian residents. according to the city Health Department vaccine tracker.
Only 20 percent of Blacks and 23 percent of Latinos have been fully vaccinated, well below the 37 percent citywide average.
McGuire’s voucher plan mirrors a plan launched by former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who offered hard, cold cash up to $5,000 a year to 2,500 poor families in six neighborhoods that engaged in behavior aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty.
Families received bonuses for regular attendance in schools and higher grades, for example. But the anti-poverty experiment program was scrapped. after a study found middling results.
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