Congresswoman Maloney Stresses Need to Vaccinate Young Americans, Highlights New York’s Successes
WASHINGTON, DC — At today’s Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing entitled “Building Trust And Battling Barriers: The Urgent Need To Overcome Vaccine Hesitancy,” Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, emphasized the importance of vaccinating younger Americans and highlighted New York’s success in offering vaccination incentives.
During her exchange with actress and advocate Sophia Bush, Congresswoman Maloney stated, “I am very concerned about the lagging vaccinations and the rates of the vaccinations in younger Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), just under half of Americans between the ages of 18 and 39 have received one or more doses of the vaccine—compared to more than 85 percent of Americans aged 65 and older.”
Chairwoman Maloney then asked Ms. Bush what message she would have for young Americans who have yet to get vaccinated, to which Ms. Bush responded, “I understand that there is an air of invincibility at times, especially because in the initial stages of the outbreak of the pandemic, we thought that this was something that mostly affected older Americans. That’s simply not true. And especially for young people who have so much of their lives ahead of them, who have dreams that they’re building on and academic careers to pursue, so much of that is magic, frankly, because it happens in person. Because of who we meet, who we fall in love with, where we wind up working, and I don’t want young people to lose those opportunities.”
Ms. Bush continued: “What I would encourage any young person watching to think about today is how many of us you know through a screen or through a sport, who you’ve seen get vaccinated. And our bodies are literally our jobs. […] This will save lives and in particular will allow young people to get back to the futures that they’re pursuing.”
Congresswoman Maloney then turned to Dr. Katy Milkman, Ph.D, Professor of Operations, Information, and Decisions at the Wharton School and Professor, Division of Health Policy at the Perelman School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania, to discuss New York’s vaccine incentive successes, stating, “In my home state of New York, we’ve offered 50 full-ride scholarships to any New York State public college or university to people under the age of 18 who get vaccinated. We also offered lottery scratch-off tickets with a grand prize of $5 million to those 18 and older, and free baseball tickets, among other incentives.”
Chairwoman Maloney closed with asking Dr. Milkman, about what strategies should be deployed to increase vaccination rates, particularly among younger Americans.
Dr. Milkman applauded efforts occurring in New York and other states, noting, “I think it’s wonderful what New York is doing. I think, actually, it’s fantastic to see these kinds of incentives that in particular appeal to young people.”
She continued, “I think in addition to college scholarships, we can think about: ‘are there ways that we can particularly target young people’ and Congresswoman Waters earlier mentioned celebrities. There are lots of things that we can offer in lotteries besides just scholarships that might be even more exciting to young Americans, and I think there’s an opportunity to try to get artists engaged, you know, free concert tickets or an opportunity to meet your favorite musician for lunch. Those are the kinds of things that we could consider also putting on offers and lotteries as prizes that might particularly appeal to young people and having the kinds of events that were mentioned in Seattle where sports icons come out and you could go meet them and get your vaccine, so I think the more we can engage with artists and entertainers and get them involved, the better we’ll do.”
You can watch the full exchange below.