Pressure is mounting on the Morrison government to outline how it will incentivise hesitant Australians to roll up their sleeves and get the jab.
While Labor's proposal of a $300 cash for jabs was dead in the water after Finance Minister Simon Birmingham called it "insulting" to Australians on ABC Radio National on Tuesday morning, big question marks remain unanswered as to how the federal government will get most of the population vaccinated.
The opposition's incentive plan was proposed to cost $6bn and be available once the blockage of Pfizer supplies eases later in the year.
Despite a quick rejection by the Coalition, Grattan Institute economist Stephen Duckett says the overall cost of an incentive plan is relatively cheap compared to the $1bn blow to the economy each week a lockdown is extended.
Mr Duckett says other OECD nations similar to Australia are adopting incentive programs in a bid to boost the overall vaccine rate, which will likely prompt the government to consider a similar program.
The Grattan Institute had been lobbying for a lottery style incentive program between Melbourne Cup Day and Christmas, with a prize pool of roughly one million dollars a week.
"The total cost of the scheme is all relative to the cost of a lockdown in Sydney," Mr Duckett said. "Labor's put forward its proposal, Grattan has put forward its proposal, while the government has not put forward any proposal and that seems to be the big question mark issue." Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said analysis shows earlier lockdowns which are shorter and sharper are more cost effective.
"At 50 per cent vaccination rates, if governments are getting on top of those early cases, it's costing the economy $570 million a week," Mr Frydenberg said. "At a 70 per cent vaccination rate it's costing the economy $200 million a week and at 80 per cent vaccination rates it's costing the economy $140 million a week."
Australia Institute Matt Grudnoff believes there is mixed views on if incentive strategies, but notes the government has failed to provide a longer term plan on the rollout.
"We don't know how big the problem is, because we haven't reached that point where demand is the issue rather than supply," Mr Grudnoff said.
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