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COVID-19 vaccine lotteries don’t spur people to get vaccinated, study finds

Gov. McMaster called a vaccine lottery “unnecessary” in South Carolina back in May
Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 6:21 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC/CNN) - A new study indicates vaccine lotteries designed to provide a financial incentive for getting vaccinated against COVID-19 aren’t working.

The study, published Friday in the JAMA Health Forum, states researchers looked at vaccination records in the 19 states that entered people into a cash drawing if they got vaccinated between the end of April and the beginning of July.

The researchers observed no statistically significant association between the lotteries and vaccination rates.

As some states began their vaccine lotteries, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, through his spokesman, said they were not necessary in the Palmetto State.

“South Carolinians have been given all available information about the vaccine and that is all they need in order to make this decision,” McMaster spokesman Brian Symmes said in May.

Symmes said the governor believed enticing people to take the vaccine “with the lure of a lottery jackpot is irresponsible and a poor use of taxpayer dollars.”

Rep. Todd Rutherford, D-Columbia, suggested using some of the state’s COVID-19 relief money to offer $1 million prizes to those who are vaccinated, suggesting such a plan could get the state out of the bottom 10 in vaccination rates.

Researchers speculate that lotteries may be less enticing than actual cash for vaccination.

The latest data from the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control states 53.8% of eligible South Carolinians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Someone is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their second dose of the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna shots or one week after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot.

DHEC data shows 61.6% of South Carolinians have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

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