Across the United States, millions of people are now eligible to get a Covid vaccine. However, the signup process is often unnecessarily complex. New York City’s NYC Healthy sign-up portal, for example, included as many as 51 questions and a request to upload a scanned health insurance card. As a result, many people, especially the elderly, poor, and less digitally literate, struggled or failed to make an appointment when they were first eligible. It doesn’t have to be this way. Nudges can be used to simplify and streamline sign up to require only a few clicks, or even make the vaccination process more automatic. To make the process more automatic, second-dose appointments can be scheduled by default and individuals can be told that a vaccine dose has been automatically set aside specifically for them, both of which can increase the likelihood that they get vaccinated.
Our recent research shows that nudges, which make decisions simple or more automatic, dramatically reduce barriers that contribute to inequality. Nudges, in fact, reduced socioeconomic inequities in every type of decision we examined, including Covid-19 health decisions, retail purchases, and financial decisions.
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