- A new study finds that the COVID-19 vaccine lottery had little effect on the number of times Americans get their first shot
- Programs were set up in 19 states before President Biden’s goal of partially closing 70% of American adults by at least July 4.
- The lottery only reached around a quarter of expectations and missed the final goal as Biden’s target was not reached until Aug.
- Researchers believe that since incentives were not universal and not informative, they failed to get people to take the shot.
The COVID-19 vaccine lottery used by more than a dozen US states is doing little to boost vaccination rates, a new study has found.
Earlier this year, 19 states launched a lottery to encourage residents to stay ahead of President Joe Biden’s goal of 70 percent of American adults partially vaccinated by July 4.
The nation lost the presidential goal, and researchers at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts, have now found that these lottery efforts made little impact.
In fact, only a quarter of the expected daily vaccination rate was reached after the lottery was announced.
Researchers found that there was little change in the number of Americans receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in the two weeks following the day the lottery was announced (the light blue line).
Ohio was the first of 19 states to start a vaccine lottery in hopes of encouraging residents to be jab. While the programs were initially praised, they failed to boost vaccination rates. Pictured: A woman in Columbus, Ohio receives a shot of a COVID-19 vaccine on September 15
The researchers, who published their findings on Friday Jama Health Forum, used publicly available vaccination data.
They found that in the two weeks following the lottery announcements, 0.3 daily first-dose vaccinations were administered per 1,000 residents.
To reach the president’s goal, researchers say the figure should have been as high as 1.22 daily first-dose vaccinations per 1,000 people.
Vaccine lotteries were initially praised as clever ways to persuade non-vaccinated Americans to get their wallets.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine was the first to use incentives in his state when the Wax-A-Million program — where five vaccinated Ohioans would be selected to win $1 million — was announced on May 12.
Several other states will follow suit, as New York, Massachusetts and Michigan are among those to establish some kind of vaccine incentive to wake people up.
West Virginia also discontinued custom hunting rifles and trucks for lucky vaccinated residents.
Many had hoped that more people would benefit from these awards, but looking back, it is now clear that the effort failed.
Researchers have some theories as to why these lotteries failed to persuade unvaccinated Americans to get their shots.
‘Of course, lottery-style drawings may be less effective than pay-off incentives,’ the researchers wrote.
‘Another possibility is that the pictures were not an informative vaccine promotion strategy and that delivering a more complete message on vaccination would have been far more effective.’
‘In addition, individuals who hesitate to receive a COVID-19 vaccination may be affected by vaccine misinformation.’
Their findings match those of a previous study in July, which also found that incentives did little to get more Americans vaccinated.
The 70 per cent target was eventually achieved, but not until August 3, almost a month behind the July 4 target.
As of Friday morning, 79 percent of American adults have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 68 percent have been fully vaccinated.
Health officials have had trouble apprehending the remaining American adults, however, with many reporting that little will convince them to take the shot.
Dr Lin Kamerlin, a professor at Uppsala University in Sweden who has been skeptical of the success of the vaccine lottery since it was first announced, thinks there is still more that officials can do to boost vaccination rates, But not all Americans can be reassured.
She says those remaining in the US fall into two groups, those who may not get a jab because of structural issues, and those who hold strong views against the vaccine.
For the first group, things like providing paid leave from work may allow them to take a shot without having to bear the financial loss from losing work hours.
However, reaching the second group is difficult.
In an email to dailymail.com, she wrote, ‘This group seems to be increasingly determined whether there is fear, anger, no desire to be controlled, etc. Will not take the vaccine. .
The president is using tools in his arsenal to help Americans get shots, including directing all companies with more than 100 employees in the US to mandate the vaccine for employees to keep their jobs.
“The vaccine mandate for employment has been a bigger success than incentives and a vast majority of people claim they will by no means do it when it becomes a need for continued employment,” Kamerlin said.
‘But there are still some roadblocks where even the risk of loss of employment does not persuade them to get vaccinated.’