Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Incentives matter: immunisation file

From the NBR:
The Ministry of Health should look into paying parents to encourage them to vaccinate their children, a report into New Zealand's lagging immunisation rates says.
The report ruled out making immunisation compulsory but directed the Ministry of Health to consider immunisation incentive payments to parents, or linking existing parental benefits to immunisation.

The current incentive scheme offers payments to primary health organisations for reaching certain immunisation targets but no direct payments to parents.

In Australia, parents on any income are eligible for two payments of $A122.75 ($NZ166.91) if they ensure their children have met immunisation schedule requirements by certain ages.
It would be interesting to see just what effect payment would have. Are monetary payments the best form of incentive in situations like this? What exactly stops parent from having their kids immunised? The incentives of the parent and the kids would seem to be aligned well enough to get the parents to have the kids immunised just for the kids sake.


Eric Crampton said...

This is about the least crazy thing that MoH's has been requested to do in interest of public health. Positive external effects from vaccination. Sure, incentives seem aligned. And most parents get vaccinations - lots of rents will be conferred. But at least it's addressing a real market failure - the external benefits. Some parents are just crazy and so don't get vaccinated; some don't get around to it 'cause booking in is a hassle.

I wonder what the total cost per additional vaccination would wind up being. No clue if the proposal passes cost benefit. But it's not implausible.

Anonymous said...

This wont encourage me to immunise my kids.The only thing that will encourage me is if the vaccines were safe and PAINLESS!