Ohio Vax-a-Million Lottery Did Not Increase COVID-19 Vaccination Rates, Study Finds


CLEVELAND, Ohio – Early results from the Ohio Vax-a-Million Lottery were promising, suggesting the lure of a million dollar prize or full college scholarship might be enough to entice someone one to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

But a new study by researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine suggests that those incentives weren’t enough to convince many skeptics.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, concluded that the Vax-a-Million lottery was not associated with increased COVID-19 vaccination rates in Ohio. Vaccination rates improved after Gov. Mike DeWine announced Vax-a-Million on May 12, but the trend was also seen in other U.S. states that did not have vaccination lotteries, according to the study.

The study notes that DeWine unveiled the Vax-a-Million lottery just two days after the United States Food and Drug Administration announced that children and adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15 could receive the Pfizer vaccine. This could explain why other states also saw improved vaccination rates as Ohio unveiled its vaccine lottery, the study found.

“Our results suggest that state lotteries have limited value in increasing immunization,” one of the study’s authors, Dr. Allan J. Walkey, said in a press release. “Therefore, resources spent on vaccine lotteries can be more successfully invested in programs that target the underlying reasons for vaccine reluctance and low vaccine uptake.”

DeWine called the lottery a “big hit” during a June 24 press briefing to introduce the latest Vax-a-Million winners, and said it had helped reverse the drop in vaccination rates across the board. Ohio.

Among residents over 16, new vaccinations rose 44% in the first week after Vax-a-Million was announced, and 17% in week two, DeWine spokesperson Dan said on Tuesday. Tierney. Additionally, the governor’s office believes the lottery may have prompted some residents to get vaccinated earlier, before more contagious mutations like the Delta variant reached Ohio.

“We think Vax-a-Million has been successful, and the data shows it has been successful,” Tierney said.

The BU study uses data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to assess trends in vaccination rates among adults aged 18 or older in Ohio and other U.S. states that had no vaccine lottery.

The BU study found that vaccination rates did not increase significantly in Ohio between May 12, when DeWine announced Vax-a-Million, and June 9. They also did not increase significantly in other US states.

Vaccination rates had dropped rapidly in Ohio and other U.S. states before Vax-a-Million was announced. The decline slowed in Ohio after the announcement, but it slowed even more in the other states without a vaccine lottery, according to the study.

Data from the Ohio Department of Health shows vaccination rates increased in the first two weeks after DeWine announced Vax-a-Million. Only 135,879 people started their immunizations over a seven-day period that ended on May 12. This rose to 189,575 people who started their immunizations over a seven-day period that ended on May 21.

DeWine’s announcement of the Vax-a-Million lottery garnered national attention, with many questioning whether the innovative approach might be enough to convince skeptics to get the shot. Other states, including California, New York, Maryland, and Louisiana, have followed Ohio’s lead and implemented similar lottery programs.

However, an early bump from Vax-a-Million subsided after a few weeks. As of Tuesday, less than 48% of Ohio’s population received at least one dose of the vaccine, while less than 45% completed vaccinations.

Experts in psychology, economics and health ethics have already said cleveland.com that they were divided on the idea of ​​organizing a lottery to encourage vaccination. They thought it might be effective for some people, but they thought it would be unlikely that he would convince someone who is anti-vaccine for political or ideological reasons.

Vax-a-Million awarded five million dollar prizes to adults who had received at least one dose and five full college scholarships to children and teens who had been vaccinated. The last weekly draw took place on June 23.

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