Study Shows Vaccine ‘Lotteries’ Did not Boost Vaccination Rates

A recent study indicated that efforts by multiple states to encourage coronavirus vaccinations with lottery-style prizes did little to increase the number of shots taken by the broader population.

According to ABC News, the study comes from the Boston University School of Medicine, which took a closer look at vaccination rates across 15 different states with such “lotteries” in place, between late May of 2021 and mid-July of 2021. The survey, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, then compared these numbers to the vaccination rates of 31 states during the same period that did not have any lotteries.

The average number of vaccinations across the lottery states was about 225 per 100,000, roughly four weeks before the lotteries began. When the lotteries were first announced, these numbers increased to about 226 per 100,000. Then, four weeks after the lotteries began, the overall number plunged to only about 100 per 100,000. The trends were virtually identical in the states that lacked lotteries.

“This study did not find evidence that vaccine lottery incentive programs in the U.S. were associated with significantly increased rates of COVID-19 vaccinations,” the researchers behind the study wrote in their summary. “Given the lack of a strong association between state lottery-based vaccine incentives and increased vaccination rates, further studies of strategies to increase vaccination rates are needed.”

Overall, 19 states offered some sort of lottery to incentivize the broader population to go out and get vaccinated if they hadn’t done so already; among the states that attempted this system were California, New York, and Ohio.

Previous studies from Boston University back up the findings of the latest survey. The same school conducted a study that focused exclusively on Ohio, covering the period of April 15th to May 12th, 2021, one month before the state’s lottery system was first announced; it then contrasted this period with a period of one month after the lottery began, May 13th to June 9th. It concluded that overall vaccination rates actually declined significantly following the lottery, dropping from 485 shots per 100,000 adults to just 101 for every 100,000.

About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

Photo: iStock/Getty Images

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