Do state vaccine lotteries and cash prizes work? Not really

Regardless of their glitz and glamour, the seven-figure cash prizes dangled by greater than a dozen states over the previous few months have seemingly failed to spice up COVID-19 vaccination numbers in significant methods.

Latest knowledge from these states suggests the carnival of lotteries hasn’t had the impact that policymakers had been hoping for: Many states noticed instant spikes in vaccination charges that shortly flatlined, to the purpose that some are scratching the applications altogether.

That was the case for Ohio, which was the flagbearer of kinds for vaccine lotteries. After being the primary to debut its program in Could—which might award 5 vaccinated winners $1 million every—the state saw a two-week jump in inoculations, which then fell off sharply. Different states that adopted Ohio’s lead after its fleeting glimmer of success noticed much more lukewarm outcomes. In New Mexico, which promised $10 million in cash prizes, the primary week of the competition noticed simply 85 extra vaccinations per day than the prior week. In Michigan, which touted a $5 million giveaway, vaccinations have reportedly gone up by lower than 1%.

However in Oregon, the weekly vaccination rate actually dropped from 9,000 to six,700 following its $1 million lottery rollout. And in Colorado, the month following its $5 million lottery noticed practically 600,000 fewer vaccinations than the month previous it.

All of this has spurred a torrent of debate over what works, what doesn’t, and why. And it hasn’t stopped states from making an attempt all the things and something: Greater than half of the nation now presents some form of vaccine incentive, and they’re getting more and more inventive. In Delaware, you get free freeway tolls. In Indiana, a free field of Woman Scout cookies. In Alabama, you bought to drive your truck on the Talladega Superspeedway racetrack. In New Jersey, you bought an opportunity to win dinner on the governor’s mansion. In different places: free looking rifles, free zoo tickets, full scholarships to school. The listing goes on.

Nevertheless, some analysts stay skeptical. A recent study revealed within the Journal of the American Medical Affiliation concluded that based mostly on Ohio’s knowledge, state-run lotteries have restricted success in encouraging vaccinations, and these assets could also be higher spent by concentrating on “underlying causes for vaccine hesitancy and low vaccine uptake.”