New Study Reinforces Previous Research that Lottery-Based Incentives Do Not Increase COVID-19 Vaccination Rates

Will lottery prizes convince people to take the COVID-19 vaccine? It appears not, according to BUSM researchers.

Previous BUSM research found that Ohio’s lottery system to incentivize vaccination was not associated with increased vaccinations, now a new study from the same researchers, found the same results despite expanding their data to include 15 additional states.

“As in our prior study of Ohio’s lottery incentive, we unfortunately did not find an increase in COVID-19 vaccinations related to lottery incentive programs in other states,” said corresponding author Anica Law, MD, MS, assistant professor of medicine.

Since it was unclear if other states (besides Ohio) might have different responses to lottery vaccine incentives, the researchers assessed changes in COVID-19 vaccination rates in 15 other states with subsequent lottery programs. Data from both the U.S. Center for Disease Control as well as individual state vaccine data was reviewed to evaluate trends in vaccination rates among adults in states with and without lottery incentive programs. No association between state-based vaccine lottery incentive programs and increased rates of COVID-19 vaccination was found.

According to the researchers, these results suggest that state-based lotteries are of limited value in increasing vaccine uptake. “Further studies and resources should be devoted to other strategies to increase vaccination rates, including those that more directly target underlying reasons for vaccine hesitancy,” said Law, a physician at Boston Medical Center.

These findings appear online in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.