People are going to need three flu shots this fall: one for the "normal" flu, and two to protect against swine flu. The vaccinations will need to happen on three visits, separated by a few weeks each. The Centers for Disease Control report that only a third of U.S. adults are willing to make the trip to get one shot.

Right now, the "Cash for Clunkers" program gives a $4,500 gift to anybody who visits a showroom to trade in a set of wheels. Selling cars is obviously very important to the health of our economy.

So why isn't the government planning to pay people to get inoculated?

There's nothing positive, helpful, or even terribly fair about the flu shot experience; if it were a "brand," nobody would buy it:

  • It hurts
  • You have to make a special trip to go do something that's unpleasant, and has no immediate benefit (it’s avoidance of a negative, which is about as motivating as buying insurance)
  • Scheduling is sometimes difficult, and requires absence from work or the responsibilities of parenting (employers are not obligated to allow or forgive doctor visits)
  • There's some risk involved (swine flu shots in 1976 resulted in many cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome, which isn't a good thing to have)
  • Worst of all, patients risk bearing the direct cost (many insurance policies will cover shots, but not all plans cover them, and coverage amounts aren’t consistent)

Avoiding the swine bug, let alone precluding a pandemic from washing across entire cities, seems like it would be a good thing for our country, yet every step toward making that happen is either a bad thing...or simply a nothing, ignored outright by the very people who claim that it's so important to do.

It just doesn't compute for me. We get aggressively incentivized to buy cars, but get no help whatsoever making a medical decision that has importance to us individually, and collectively to our country.

And we wonder why people question the priorities of government.

The Bulb Asks:

  • Does your marketing suggest a prioritzation of what's important to your company?
  • When two aspects of your communications conflict, do your consumers notice?
  • We worship "consumer choice," but that includes tolerating bad decisions, right?

Original Post: http://dimbulb.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/08/cash-for-jabs.html

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