Former US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, who earlier this week questioned the “public health offsets” of Covid-19 vaccine incentives like beer, lottery tickets and junk food, pushed back his concerns during an interview Thursday as CNN anchor John Berman highlighted the big challenges, including rampant online misinformation, that US officials have to grapple with in the launch of the vaccine.
Adams, who served as a surgeon general under former President Donald Trump, appeared on CNN’s “New Day” show to expand on the concerns he first described Tuesday.
“We have governments that back giveaways of guns, marijuana joint for coups, and the president of the United States is essentially involved in a giant beer commercial,” the former surgeon general said Thursday, adding that he supports “doing everything possible to get people vaccinated. ” but he questions whether the benefits outweigh the risks of certain incentives.
Berman, co-host of “New Day,” responded to concerns by highlighting the “wave of misinformation” facing the state and federal governments, noting that some of it has almost been “sanctioned” by Republican federal officials.
The CNN host specifically pointed to a recent hearing in which Ohio Republican lawmakers invited a well-known conspiracy theorist (and state-licensed physician) who parroted back discredited falsehoods about Covid-19 shots that magnetize people and create 5G interfaces.
“What do you do with it when sworn testimony is saying things with it?” Berman asked.
Adams said he was “deeply disturbed” by the misinformation, but still maintained that there are more positive ways to encourage people to get vaccinated. “We know that the way you get people to change their behaviors is by involving them and what I’ve been asking for, what I really want federal, state and local officials to do is get these communities to feel and involve,” said Adams, suggesting healthy incentives like “grocery giveaways.”
Although others have questioned the effectiveness of the incentives, Adams appears to be in the minority with their concerns about the benefits themselves. States have been implementing increasingly striking incentives to combat declining vaccination rates as they move toward herd immunity. And so far, these incentives appear to be working: Ohio saw a 45% increase in vaccinations since its first $ 1 lottery for vaccinated residents.
Adams emerged as a key spokesperson for the Trump administration amid his widely criticized pandemic response. Unlike other senior Trump officials, Adams often called on the public to follow security precautions, but pointed out some scrutiny for initially downplaying the virus and for the language he used when discussing racial disparities in the contraction of Covid-19. He resigned from his position in January at the request of the Biden administration and has since publicly continued commentary on the pandemic response of the federal government.
“Trump’s Surgeon General Says He’s Getting Uncomfortable ‘With Vaccine Incentives” (Forbes)
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