Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot received multiple criticisms online over a picture of the Illinois Democrat standing next to a message spelled out in U.S. currency as part of what appears to be a promotion for COVID-19 vaccines.
“The message is clear,” Lightfoot wrote in a Friday post on Twitter featuring a picture of her standing next to the money. “Get vaccinated from the comfort of your home and this stack could be yours.”
According to the U.K. Daily Mail, the bills in the picture total up to $826. The stack of money was arranged in the form of the words “Get Vax’d.” Forty-one $20 bills and one $5 bill comprise the message, with a $1 bill for the apostrophe, the outlet reported.
The message is clear. Get vaccinated from the comfort of your home and this stack could be yours 💰💵.
Call 312-746-4835 to make an appointment. #ProtectChicago pic.twitter.com/PPLwSxMMjn
— Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) January 27, 2022
The outlet reported that the mayor took part in the photo stunt to motivate residents of her city to phone the city’s health department to schedule an at-home vaccine shot. Booking an appointment that way would reportedly enter those vaccinated into a cash prize lottery, the Daily Mail reported.
Netizens in the tweet’s comment section mocked the mayor’s attempt at encouraging people to get inoculated against COVID-19.
“This is cringe,” wrote one user.
Another tweeted, “People should not have to be bribed to get vaccinated. If the vaccine was truly safe and effective, the bribe should be the vaccine itself.”
“Somebody thought this was a good idea. Then, other people thought it was too. Then they actually did it. Then they looked at their product and again thought this was a great idea. Then they published it. This right here is an obvious case of group think right?” a user commented.
Multiple users drew comparisons between Lightfoot and villains from the superhero series “Batman.”
“Wait… I’ve seen this before… I’m preeeeetty sure you’re doing a Batman villain thing…” one wrote.
Another netizen shared a photoshopped version of the image portraying Lightfoot as a villain from “Batman”: namely, The Riddler. The photoshopped image showed the cash-written message spelling out “Get The Bat.”
— Evan V (@EvanV91864487) January 28, 2022
According to the City of Chicago data, Chicago has administered 4,466,494 vaccinations, including those who have only taken one dose.
The city has seen a falling daily average in cases currently at 1,468.
Data from city authorities show that Chicago witnessed 195 COVID hospitalizations in the past week, bringing the cumulative total to 39,202. It saw 25 COVID deaths in the past week, bringing the total to 7,132.
According to the Daily Mail, the city’s Department of Health did not give more details on the supposed vaccine incentive program. Neither did the health department respond to the outlet’s request for comment.
New York City in 2021 carried out an incentive program where those taking their first dose could either claim a $100 prepaid debit card or free tickets, memberships or gifts.
According to a report from Harvard University, vaccine incentive programs “may be effective in increasing COVID-19 vaccine uptake.”
“However, states are tasked with designing and implementing incentive program structures that effectively target their respective vaccine hesitant populations—considering variations in incentive types and amounts (monetary vs. non-monetary), targeted populations (adolescent vs. elder population; patient vs. provider), and length of reward programs.”
“Lastly, states’ incentive reward programs may be limited by ethical considerations of coercion and constraints of specific funding sources,” the Harvard report stated.