BREAKING: State COVID-19 vaccine lotteries DID NOT increase vaccination rates, study finds

COVID-19 vaccine lotteries used by more than a dozen US. states ended up doing little to nothing to boost vaccination rates, a new study finds.

Earlier this year, 19 states launched lotteries in a bid to incentivize residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine ahead of President Joe Biden‘s target of 70 percent of American adults partially vaccinated by July 4. The nation ended up missing the President’s target, and researchers from Bentley University, in Waltham, Massachusetts, have now found that these lottery efforts had little effect.

Only 25% of the expected daily vaccination rate was reached after the lotteries were announced. Researchers, who published their findings on Friday in JAMA Health Forum, used publicly available vaccination data. They found that in the two weeks following the lotteries’ announcements, 0.3 daily first-dose vaccinations per every 1,000 residents were administered.

In order to reach the President’s goal, researchers say the figure would have had to been as high as 1.22 daily first-dose vaccinations per 1,000 people. The vaccine lotteries were initially praised as clever ways to convince unvaccinated Americans to get their jabs. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine was the first to use the incentives in his state, when the Vax-a-Million program – where five vaccinated Ohioans will be chosen to win $1 million each, was announced on May 12.

Many other states would follow suit, such as New York, Massachusetts and Michigan among those to institute some sort of vaccine incentives. West Virginia even raffled off custom hunting rifles and trucks to vaccinated residents whose names were first out the hat. Many hoped these prizes would convince more people to get the vaccine.

Researchers have a few theories as to why these lotteries failed to convince unvaccinated Americans to get their shots. “Lottery-style drawings may be less effective than incentives that pay with certainty,” researchers wrote. “Another possibility is that drawings were not an informative vaccine promotional strategy and that more complete messaging on vaccination would have been far more effective.”

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