Editorial: Bonus as bait for unvaxxed workers

·3 min read

Wanting to boost vaccination against Covid-19 in Cebu City, Acting Mayor Michael Rama announced on Monday, November 8, 2021, that all City Hall employees would receive P20,000 in Christmas bonus.

Here is the catch, though: All employees must be vaccinated before they could get their hands on the bonus.

The other questions are if there are enough funds and if the Cebu City Council would approve it.

As the majority of city councilors are allies of Rama, approval of the distribution of the P20,000 is a big possibility.

Here is another question: Will luring unvaxxed City Hall employees with P20,000 in bonuses persuade them to get their Covid-19 vaccine shots?

Last October 13, Rama announced that there will be a raffle draw for city residents who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. The prizes include a house and lot and a brand-new car.

The acting mayor further said philanthropists will also give P100,000 worth of gift certificates to a hotel, P100,000 worth of scholarships and P100,000 worth of groceries. Secretary Michael Dino’s Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas will also provide television sets and other prizes to encourage people to get vaccinated against Covid-19, SunStar Cebu earlier reported.

What happened to that raffle draw? Who are the winners? If there are already winners, what is the effect of the raffle draw on Cebu City’s vaccination drive?

As 2020 is about to end, Cebu City still lags behind its target to inoculate 700,000 individuals, or 70 percent of the city’s population. The city’s total population based on the 2020 census was 964,169.

The combined data of public and private sector vaccination centers show that as of November 6 a total of 809,639 doses of Covid-19 had been administered in Cebu City—433,651 for first dose and 375,988 for second dose.

This means that only 49.99 percent of Cebu City’s eligible population have been fully vaccinated so far, while 57.66 percent of the eligible population received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Cebu City’s vaccination rate could go up in the coming weeks with the start of its inoculation of minors aged 12 to 17 with or without health problems.

Dangling bonuses and raffle prizes is not the best way to defeat vaccine hesitancy, not the way to liberation from the pandemic’s grip.

How sure is Acting Mayor Rama that the vaccine-hesitant City Hall workers would run to vaccination sites and get their jabs? Could the smell of money change their minds about Covid-19 vaccines?

Educating Cebu City Government’s constituents is still the best method to convince them about the benefits of vaccines.

Also, if the people at Cebu City Hall are sensible enough, they must refrain from giving bonuses amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Doing such rubs salt into the wounds of city residents who lost their jobs during these hard times.

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