Skip to main content

California To Offer $116M In Coronavirus Vaccine Prize Money

Cover image for podcast episode

PHOTO BY ROLAND LIZARONDO

Above: A nurse preparing the COVID-19 vaccine at San Diego State University's Viejas Arena, March 23, 2021.

Californians will be eligible for $116.5 million in prize money for getting coronavirus shots, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday. We talk to a behavioral scientist about whether or not it could help get millions more vaccinated before California fully reopens next month. Plus, days before Memorial Day, the Department of Veterans Affairs is easing restrictions at the cemeteries it manages. And our weekend arts picks: Malashock Dance, a new Indian film, an AAPI group show, and La Jolla Playhouse’s POP Tour.

Speaker 1: 00:01 116 million more reasons to get vaccinated in California. Yeah. Sometimes

Speaker 2: 00:06 All it takes is a little bit of an incentive to kind of even the scales.

Speaker 1: 00:11 I'm Maureen Kavanaugh. This is KPBS midday edition. Yeah. The pandemic is still affecting veteran's Memorial day events

Speaker 3: 00:29 With all the precautions and all the social distancing and masks and everything else. We were able to have our formal ceremony. We weren't going to not do it. We weren't going to be told no, you can't

Speaker 1: 00:44 A mouthwatering movie, outdoor dance and more on the weekend preview that's ahead on midday edition. Besides the promise of not getting sick, taking off your mask, protecting friends, family, and society at large, what else could possibly encourage people to get their COVID vaccine? The state of California thing? So $116.5 million in gifts and cash might do the trick. The biggest bounty in governor Newsome's new VAX for the win program is a $1.5 million prize for each of 10 people who've received at least one dose of the vaccine by June 15th, state officials say it's hoped the cash prizes will boost demand for vaccinations. 49% of Californians are now fully vaccinated, but vaccinations have dropped in recent weeks from about 400,000 a day to closer to 200,000. Johnnie Mae is on a mirror of behavioral scientist and professor of marketing at UC San Diego and professor Amir. Welcome to the program. Thank you. Now it seems to many, including a doctor or two I've spoken with at being free from the fear of catching COVID, wouldn't be enough incentive to get vaccinated. Why then have many states now, including California, decided to offer prizes, to get people vaccinated. So

Speaker 2: 02:17 One important thing to remember when thinking about problems like this is that not everyone is the same. And when doctors and experts speak, they tend to rely on their own set of knowledge and preferences and it varies or across the population. There are people who don't believe that COVID is a serious problem. And there are people who don't believe that the vaccine will solve it. So when thinking about policy, we have to think about the variety of people in academia, recall heterogeneity in preferences, in knowledge and in thoughts about the vaccine.

Speaker 1: 02:46 Now, if someone is really hesitant about getting the vaccine, is this slim chance of winning enough to motivate people, to get their shots. There

Speaker 2: 02:55 Are a lot of people that are not terrified for them for one reason or another, the cost benefit analysis of getting the vaccine. Just doesn't cut it. Think about the person who leaves far away and need to drive to get a three vaccine. That driving is a cost and they have to ask yourself themselves is it's worth it. And as we said, if there's heterogeneity across preferences or kind of around the vaccine and COVID in general and knowledge and other things, then that cost might be too large. Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of an incentive to kind of even the scales. So one interesting thing about the California incentive, which is maybe different than some other places, there's this, you know, slim chance of winning a big prize, which has been shown to be effective in places, but there's also a guaranteed $50 if I read this correctly gift certificate. So there's, there's a shore gain of, of going and doing something. If somebody is on the fence and there's a lot of population, sort of a large portion of the population that's on the fence, that $50 for sure is it gives them the easy. Why, why should I well, $50.

Speaker 1: 04:02 Now, some experts seem to think that requiring a vaccine passport to allow people to take part in events in school and travel that that might be more effective than offering cash rewards for vaccinations. What's your opinion on that? So

Speaker 2: 04:17 Again, it really depends on what population you're talking about and why aren't they taking the vaccine. Let's say it's college students who don't feel that COVID is a big risk for them based on the numbers. Then they're not going to get vaccinated because maybe it's uncomfortable or, or not accessible or not easy or burdensome. But if it, if it's a way to get something they want, say, get, go into Coachella or some other great festival, and then they might, other people are, are kind of not getting vaccinated for other reasons. And then the, this, these nudges, even financial crude actually kind of have a big effect. How

Speaker 1: 04:52 Have the cash for vaccination programs worked in other states? Do we know yet

Speaker 2: 04:57 They have seen a positive response? How long will this carry on is an open question. But the initial uptake was, was positive.

Speaker 1: 05:06 If this strategy of cash for vaccinations doesn't work. If we don't see a major increase in people getting their shots, what does that tell us about why vaccinations have dropped off?

Speaker 2: 05:17 There could be a lots of lots of reasons, but it could be that, as I said, if we look at the mix of different reasons, then it could be that the reasons that are preventing people from getting vaccinated are much more emotional, are much more dire than what, you know, $50 can outweigh in terms of the perceived costs. And then you'd need to go with campaigns. If you remember, if you recall the campaigns that that happened to, to reduce the smoking. For example, they were very emotionally laid in. They were educational, they required many more months and years to take effect. And so, you know, to get at who dread for one reason or another getting vaccinated, you would need to go with with different types of approaches.

Speaker 1: 06:06 Is there anything as a marketing expert, you'd like to see the state add to this new program, either more money or change the timing of the program in any way to increase its effectiveness. So

Speaker 2: 06:19 One of the things we know about incentives is that it really matters how they're framed. If this is, if this is framed as a raffle Kenyatta at the end of the party, stuff like that, it might have a more limited effect than if it's framed as it's yours and you might lose it if you don't go in and use it. So that's what the study at UCLA did. They sort of endowed people with the, with, with the vaccine and the opportunity to get vaccinated and they would lose it if they, if they don't take action soon. So, so it turns out with all these incentives and marketers have known this for a long while that how exactly you're framed incentives can have a great impact effect on, on their impact. And so I would hope that the state, you know, reads the literature, talks to experts and frames this in, in a way that truly motivates people. And that there are lots of facets to this framing, but I hope we do it right.

Speaker 1: 07:16 I've been speaking with on Amir, a behavioral scientist and professor of marketing at UC San Diego, professor Amir. Thank you so much for speaking with us. My pleasure. Thank you. Days before Memorial day, the department of veterans affairs is lifting restrictions at the cemeteries. It manages the pandemic limited. The number of people allowed at burials and ceremonies still at many veteran's cemeteries. This year is Memorial day. Commemorations will be scaled back. Chris Hexcel reports for the American Homefront project.

Speaker 4: 07:57 Lynn Rolf Jr. Is a retired army Colonel who volunteers here at Leavenworth national cemetery in Kansas. We're about 40,000 veterans are buried

Speaker 3: 08:06 All the way from Spanish American war, world war one, world war II, civil war. And my brother's buried out in section 58. See Sergeant Ralf

Speaker 4: 08:17 That Sergeant John Rolfe, who served a tour of duty in Vietnam, Lynn roll spins weeks preparing for Memorial day, typically hundreds of boy Scouts with place American flags at every grade, there would be speeches and prayers and a bugler playing taps. That didn't happen last year. At first, Rolf heard everything was canceled, but that was not acceptable.

Speaker 3: 08:40 We were able to work with our cemetery director and, uh, with all the precautions and all the social distancing and masks and everything else. We were able to have our formal ceremony. We weren't going to not do it. We going to be told, no you can't.

Speaker 4: 08:57 They ended up with a small event that was closed to the public. Only a handful of veterans group representatives were there. Good

Speaker 5: 09:04 Morning, ladies and gentlemen, at this time, if you please stand John Sullivan, one of our Scouts will offer the pledge of allegiance.

Speaker 4: 09:12 This year. Another small event is planned with the pandemic receding. The VA did lift restrictions on gatherings, but barely a week before Memorial day, too late for Rolf and others to plan a typical full-scale commemoration. I pledge allegiance. The VA also lifted another rule that had limited attendance of burial services to 10 family members.

Speaker 3: 09:34 It's been really hard on them because it's unfortunately, you know, a lot of the families, they don't have the brother and sister or aunts and uncles from Virginia or down in Oklahoma to be able to come back and participate in it.

Speaker 4: 09:47 Stacy [inaudible] says the group aspect of events like Memorial day is important. Her father was killed in Vietnam nine weeks before she was

Speaker 6: 09:56 Born. I didn't get to ever so much as breathe the same air as my dad. So I tend to take anything honoring our fallen very much to heart

Speaker 4: 10:13 For years. Her father's death was something nobody really talked about.

Speaker 6: 10:18 Um, mostly because of my grandparents, couldn't accept that dad didn't come home. His body was not viewable, so they didn't have the closure.

Speaker 4: 10:28 She likes to honor veterans throughout the year at events where hundreds of volunteers gathered till they read the gravestones. She says that sense of community has been missing. The official Memorial day ceremony at Leavenworth will be scaled back this year, but it will be open to the public. And the VA says those who are fully vaccinated, don't have to wear masks. Rolf. The retired Colonel encourages people to visit on Memorial day or any day for a quiet moment of reflection.

Speaker 3: 10:59 And he's standing up on one of the far hillsides and looked down over it. You're just amazed at the beauty of the place, serene, solemn, but still beautiful.

Speaker 4: 11:10 And for people who do visit Rolf says, they'll see a small sign that things are returning to normal. After missing last Memorial day, the boy Scouts were allowed back this year. And once again, visitors can expect to see 40,000 small American flags in front of each veteran's gravestone. I'm Chris hackle and Leavenworth, Kansas

Speaker 1: 11:31 Story was produced by the American Homefront project, a public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veterans funding comes from the corporation for public broadcasting. This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh. This weekend in the arts there's brand new choreography, schoolyard misfits, a mouthwatering film, and three-headed monsters. Joining me with all the tails is KPBS arts editor, Julia Dixon Evans, and welcome Julia.

Speaker 7: 12:14 Hi Maureen. Thanks for having me a new

Speaker 1: 12:17 Group show at good faith gallery and Sherman Heights is exploring the experience of Asian American Pacific Islander artists and activists in San Diego. Tell us about Dora lives.

Speaker 7: 12:29 Yeah, so terrace gallery and burn all books put together. This show has works by emerging AAPA artists in town, and it's inspired by the misunderstood enemy and antagonist of Godzilla called Gadara. Who's a three headed monster. So in the show they're zenes illustration photography, even wheat paste murals and their sculpture. Like one work that really stands out to me is Stacey UES, dis harmonics AA 2000 machine. And she's made it entirely out of felt. It has these little knobs and switches for various survival tactics. She was raised with things like nod, smile, ignore, and also levers to slide between things like shrink or take up space, work hard, or burn it down. The show also draws on the history of a relatively under documented type of activism and organizing there specifically Deidre, which is our radical anti-imperialist tick Asian American scene from the sixties and seventies. Last week I visited the gallery and I asked the curator Carmel or Prudencio about how this inspired the show.

Speaker 8: 13:39 Oh, good example of documentation of the work that Asian-American organizers were doing was Deidre. And that was something I look to as inspiration to create my own archive here of what folks have been doing. Like it's a lot of preservation of memory, but still trying to be present in this moment and look at how this environment has shaped, how we're seeing the past and what's possible for the future too

Speaker 1: 14:08 Good. Dora lives will be on view at good faith gallery tonight and Saturday from seven to 10 and Sunday from noon to 5:00 PM. After that, the exhibition will be viewable by appointment through June 19th, food domesticity and women are all themes in a new film out of India called the great Indian kitchen. It's streaming this weekend with an art exhibition in Oceanside. Julia, tell us how he can watch.

Speaker 7: 14:36 Yeah, so Hillstreet country club is putting on this free film screening and discussion, and they're using a hybrid platform model. Like you can reserve a limited spot to go to the gallery, or you can watch it online, uh, on the walls right now at the gallery is Sheetrock go palette. Christian's exhibition called augmented realities, which is a really astonishing look at women and myths. She paints these really powerful women and mothers with just a little something extra about them, shiny armor, actual spikes, protruding from their skin, sticking out from the canvas. And there's even some actual AR animation involved. Here's she check a pallet Christian. And from when I spoke to her about the show last month

Speaker 9: 15:20 In this show, I am trying to reimagine like, what if, what if we are the true superheroes that we look towards the men and we look towards these macho characters for strength, but it's in our vulnerabilities, the kind of vulnerabilities we have overcome or are aware of and are working with on a daily basis, which are the reason for our resilience

Speaker 7: 15:45 Show at hill street country club is on view through June 20th and to pair with it. They've chosen the great Indian kitchen, which is a 20, 21 feature film out of India. And they're doing a special screening and Q and a with Sheetrock Gopalakrishnan and about the film and how it speaks with her work. This film it's about a young bride who is struggling with the invisible domestic labor of being a married woman, particularly revolving around food.

Speaker 1: 16:12 Great Indian kitchen screen Saturday at 5:00 PM at Hillstreet country club, as part of teacher Gopalakrishnan exhibition of artworks, there are very limited in-person spots, or you can join online now for some in-person outdoor dance. Julia, tell us about the open air dance performances from malice shock dance this weekend.

Speaker 7: 16:36 Yeah. So John Malish shocks partnered up with that trusting Griffin dance company out of Kansas city to bring brand new original choreography set to new and original compositions by Phillip Daniel. And this is an outdoor performance is on a new stage at Liberty station on the south promenades grassy area. It's part of this ongoing dances in the air festival, which is a partnership between a bunch of the dance companies in Liberty station. And that's running for a few more weeks. I've seen a few excerpts of rehearsals of this one, the bridge it's an eight movement work, and they're all a really nice contemporary and mentalist style, both the choreography and the music it's progressive and strong in athletic, but it has a ton of emotion. It's going to be a treat

Speaker 1: 17:23 DOR performances of the bridge from malice shock dance take place tonight and Saturday and Sunday night at six 30 at the new outdoor stage at arts district Liberty station. And in the theater world, LA Jolla Playhouse has released this year's pop tour show Aegis. Goodwin's pick me last, Julia, this is for youth, but do you think we all might enjoy it?

Speaker 7: 17:47 Yeah. So the pop tour, it's primarily a touring production that tours local schools, but it's always a top notch commissioned play. The Sierras is no different, but it is virtual. And it also has a bunch of extra digital components. And behind the scenes videos, playwright address, Goodwin's pick me last it's about kids getting well picked last for sports at recess, but it's really smart and it's funny, and it has a way of unfolding the plot and kind of a absurd and curious mystery way. There's plenty of music. Goodman has a pretty distinct use of breakbeat and music in his works. And there's a lot of heart about misfits and finding connections. It's designed for grades three through six, but I totally enjoyed it. It has such a timelessness to it at

Speaker 1: 18:38 The LA Jolla Playhouse 2021 pop tour production of pick me last is now streaming online school groups can set up special visits with the production team, but the general public can also watch the play online for details on these and more arts events or to sign up for Julia's weekly KPBS arts newsletter go to kpbs.org/arts. I've been speaking with KPBS arts editor, Julia Dickson Evans. Julia. Thank you. Thank you. Have a great weekend.

KPBS Midday Edition podcast branding

KPBS Midday Edition

KPBS Midday Edition is a daily talk show hosted by Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon, keeping San Diegans in the know on everything from politics to the arts.