A new health study shows COVID-19 vaccination lottery programs, such as Louisiana’s “Shot At a Million,” produced negligible results despite millions in taxpayer-funded giveaways.
Published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the study examined vaccination rates across the 19 states that announced vaccine lotteries by July 1 and compared them with states that did not have vaccine lotteries.
Researchers used state-level COVID-19 vaccination data from Johns Hopkins University between April 28 and July 1, a period when vaccines were widely available and news reports were promoting the incentive programs.
Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Louisiana’s $2.3 million lottery program June 17.
While controlling for various factors, the study concluded the association between COVID-19 lotteries and vaccination rates “were very small in magnitude and statistically indistinguishable from zero.”
“No statistically significant association was detected between a cash-drawing announcement and the number of vaccinations before or after the announcement date, a period that included announcements of lottery winners for most lottery states,” study authors said.
An earlier study from July 2 that examined Ohio’s “Vax-a-Million” lottery, the first in the nation, determined such programs likely would not increase “vaccine uptake.”
“Therefore, the resources devoted to vaccine lotteries may be more successfully invested in programs that target underlying reasons for vaccine hesitancy and low vaccine uptake,” said Allan J. Walkey, a physician at Boston Medical Center and a professor of medicine.
“It is important to rigorously evaluate strategies designed to increase vaccine uptake, rapidly deploy successful strategies, and phase out those that do not work,” Walkey said.
Louisiana’s “Shot At a Million” program awarded $100,000 a week from July 14 to Aug. 4, nine $100,000 scholarships for children age 12-17 and a grand prize of $1 million Aug. 6.
A week after the grand prize drawing, a separate $7.5 million vaccine incentive program called “Shot for 100” was announced. The initiative offered college students $100 for their first vaccine dose.
“Shot for 100” was expanded earlier this month to include any vaccine eligible resident of Louisiana. It’s scheduled to end on Saturday.