The city government has doled out $25 million in payments to New Yorkers getting their shots in exchange for $100 over the last two months, as 250,000 people have taken advantage of the bonus program, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday.
Almost half of the quarter of a million people who received the cash for vax bonus were Latino, or 45%, and some 40% were aged 18-35. De Blasio lauded the program as getting more shot in arms within harder-to-reach demographics.
De Blasio launched the attention-grabbing Benjamin bait in late July, offering any New Yorker who got at their first dose at a city-run site $100 in the form of a pre-paid debit card sent to them after getting the shot.
The scheme joined an array of other rewards, such as tickets to see the New York City Football Club or the Brooklyn Cyclones, a 10-ride pass on the NYC Ferry system, or a two-week membership of Citi Bike.
Local businesses and community or faith groups could also rake in some extra dough by referring their customers and members to get the vaccine, and one Bronx barber, who joined the mayor’s presser, directed a whopping 157 people to getting the shot, earning him a comfortable cut of $15,700.
De Blasio acknowledged that he would have liked people across the Five Boroughs to get their shot without having to shell out $25 million in municipal money, but maintained that it was a good investment.