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  • - There it drops.

  • 18.

  • - [Narrator] Depending on where you live,

  • getting the vaccine means the chance

  • at a check like this.

  • - That's right, you could win $1 million.

  • - How about a chance to win a million dollars?

  • - The winner each Wednesday will receive $1 million.

  • - [Narrator] Faced with falling vaccination rates,

  • states across the US

  • are rolling out incentives to get residents

  • to roll up their sleeves.

  • - Are we ready?

  • - [Narrator] But are these offers working

  • and are they worth the cost?

  • - Stay safe, Ohio.

  • - We needed to just shake things up.

  • We needed to bring some excitement

  • and I felt that a million dollars

  • would bring excitement.

  • - [Reporter] What a night it is for you.

  • - [Narrator] Lotteries like this one in Ohio

  • are part of a ballooning list

  • of vaccine incentives

  • that has included free doughnuts, free beer,

  • fishing licenses, baseball tickets,

  • a lap around Talladega Superspeedway and.

  • - We're gonna give five custom hunting rifles

  • and five custom hunting shotguns away.

  • - [Narrator] Many of these freebies

  • and lotteries started popping up last month

  • as the rate of vaccination in the US slumped

  • to about half of what it was at its peak in April.

  • - It's not surprising that we've reached a point

  • where the supply of vaccines far exceeds demand

  • and it's time to start getting creative

  • about how to get some of the stragglers

  • over the finish line.

  • But at the same time,

  • we have to be very clear eyed

  • about what these incentives can and can't do.

  • - How you y'all doing? - Hey, how are you?

  • - [Narrator] When Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced

  • the Vax-a-Million Lottery on May 12th,

  • it was the first of its kind,

  • offering adults a chance

  • to win one of five one million dollar prizes

  • and teens a chance to win one

  • of five full-ride scholarships.

  • - We were going down, down, down.

  • And we couldn't break it.

  • And no matter what we did.

  • So we didn't know what else to do.

  • So we came up with this idea,

  • having no guarantee that it would work.

  • - [Narrator] Experts like Dr. Emily Largent,

  • who researches how incentives

  • are used in medical studies say lotteries

  • won't motivate everyone.

  • - This is not a cure-all,

  • this is something fun,

  • it makes sense to try

  • but we shouldn't count on this

  • as being the magic bullet.

  • - [Narrator] Recent polling shows about 12%

  • of Americans still plan to wait and see

  • before getting the vaccine.

  • Of those, only a small number said

  • they would be motivated to do so

  • by guaranteed incentives

  • like $100 from their state

  • or free tickets to a sporting event or concert.

  • These offers and lotteries

  • may even trigger the opposite response.

  • - In some instances,

  • offering large amounts of money

  • to do something that people perceive as risky

  • or burdensome can make them feel like it's even riskier

  • or more burdensome than it actually is.

  • - [Narrator] Some lawmakers call these cash offers a bribe.

  • But Dr. Largent says she's not worried

  • about these incentives taking away an individual's choice.

  • - The bigger concerns really are

  • that they can distract from all the work

  • that needs to be going in

  • to trying to promote vaccination in the community.

  • - [Narrator] That includes providing further education

  • and access to vaccines.

  • The lottery, she says, should only be part

  • of a broader toolkit to promote vaccination.

  • But if these incentives are the right use of money

  • is heavily debated.

  • In Ohio's case, the $5 million lottery

  • was pulled from federal coronavirus relief funds.

  • - I knew at the time that we announced it,

  • people were gonna say, "DeWine is crazy."

  • They were gonna say that's a waste of money.

  • But the real waste is for people to continue to die.

  • - [Narrator] Ohio resident, Jessica Nagy,

  • who got her shot before the lottery announcement

  • says the money was well spent.

  • - It could have spent on advertising

  • or marketing to educate people on the vaccine

  • but I mean, how effective would that really be

  • when anybody can get on Facebook

  • or social media and say anything they want?

  • - I got my COVID vaccine.

  • - So have I. - I have too.

  • - [Narrator] But so far,

  • Ohio has spent more than $11 million

  • on traditional advertising to promote vaccination.

  • - Taking a relatively small amount of money

  • in the scheme of things,

  • like $5 million for incentives in Ohio

  • and offering it in this way

  • that's drawn so much attention

  • has a real multiplier effect.

  • This has drawn attention

  • not only in the State of Ohio but nationally.

  • - Ohio Governor Mike DeWine

  • has unlocked a secret.

  • - [Narrator] In the week leading up

  • to the lottery announcement,

  • Ohio averaged 13,400 new vaccinations a day, then.

  • - A couple days after we announced it,

  • we were starting to see in our numbers going up.

  • - [Narrator] In the week following,

  • an average of 26,500 Ohioans

  • were getting their first shot each day,

  • a number caveated by the fact

  • that teens aged 12 to 15 were newly eligible

  • for the vaccine.

  • But still, the state reported a 28% week-over-week increase

  • in vaccination rates among those 16

  • and older the weekend after the announcement.

  • - Incentives make sense for some people.

  • They're likely to be motivating for individuals

  • who are say young and healthy.

  • Though vaccination, they're not opposed to it,

  • but it's not really a priority for them.

  • So offering something that is a tangible benefit

  • can help get them there sooner.

  • - [Narrator] Nagy had initially planned to wait

  • to get her 12 and 14-year-olds their shots.

  • - With myself, I thought a lot more comfortable just going

  • and getting the vaccine with my kids.

  • I did kinda wanna see like nothing popping up

  • like crazy side effects or anything like that.

  • - [Narrator] But after hearing about Vax-a-Million.

  • - I thought why not?

  • A free ride to college sounds great.

  • Why wait?

  • I knew I was gonna probably do it anyway,

  • so yeah, I thought that would be awesome.

  • So I just went ahead and got 'em vaccinated.

  • - [Narrator] That said, momentum from the campaign in Ohio

  • may be slowing.

  • In the week following the drawing

  • of the first winner,

  • the state's daily average of new vaccinations

  • was back down to about 11,000.

  • - I think seeing the winners out there

  • is gonna continue to generate some excitement

  • but if it doesn't do anything else

  • besides what it's already done, it's been worth it.

  • - [Narrator] One potential downside

  • for states offering big prizes still looms

  • as it appears increasingly likely boosters

  • will be needed to maintain protection from the virus.

  • - We talk about the spoonful

  • of sugar helping the medicine go down

  • but if you can only get people to take the medicine

  • with the sugar, you have habituated them to that.

  • We might be creating a precedent now

  • for something that can be expensive

  • and potentially inefficient in the future.

  • - [Narrator] Setting a precedent

  • doesn't worry Governor DeWine

  • who's focused on getting shots in arms now

  • as his state still lags behind the national average.

  • - Not every decision we've made

  • has been write but it's been based

  • on the best facts that we could gather.

  • And so are we gonna offer this in the future?

  • I don't know.

  • But we're gonna continue to do what it takes

  • to knock this virus down.

  • - [Narrator] As she did with her initial vaccination,

  • Nagy says she won't wait for an incentive

  • before getting a booster.

  • - Yeah, I definitely wouldn't expect it

  • but if it happens, great.

  • A happy correlation.

- There it drops.

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B1 US WSJ narrator ohio vaccination lottery offering

Are Covid-19 Vaccine Incentives Paying Off? | WSJ

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    joey joey posted on 2021/07/24
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