Personal Finance

Large cash lottery drawings were not enough to increase Covid-19 vaccination rates, study finds

Key Points
  • Certain states offered Covid-19 lotteries with large cash drawings in an effort to increase their vaccination rates.
  • But the incentives did not successfully increase vaccination rates, new research shows.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom drew 10 winners in Universal City, California, on June 15, 2021, as part of the final cash prize drawing in California's $116.5 million Vax for the Win vaccine incentive program.
Jay L. Clendenin | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

The lottery slogan "You've got to be in it to win it" took on a whole new meaning this spring when certain states began offering large cash drawings for residents who got a Covid-19 vaccine.

But a new study finds that many people just weren't playing.

The research, which was published in the JAMA Health Forum, took a look at 19 states that announced cash lotteries tied to Covid-19 vaccines and compared their vaccination trends with states that did not offer those incentives.

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"No statistically significant association was detected between a cash-drawing announcement and the number of vaccinations before or after the announcement date," according to the study.

That held true even as winners of the lotteries were announced.

There could be several reasons why the lotteries did not spur more people to get vaccinated, according to the researchers.

Maryland's Covid vaccine lottery just awarded someone $40,000 for being vaccinated
Maryland's Covid vaccine lottery awards someone $40,000 for being vaccinated

Lottery-style drawings may inspire fewer people to act compared with offers with guaranteed cash payments.

In addition, the lottery campaigns may not have included adequate information on the vaccines. More complete messaging on vaccinations may have been more effective, the research said.

The campaigns also might not have been effective with people who are susceptible to vaccine misinformation.