United States uses unvaccinated COVID with cash, beer and purses | national
It started in tribal villages in Alaska, where health officials held raffle parties in early April to get more people vaccinated against COVID-19 as demand began to falter.
But it was when Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, announced a month later that any adult resident who received an injection could win $ 1 million in a series of five weekly draws, that others States took note.
Since then, California, Colorado, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Washington State, and West Virginia have started their own million dollar lotteries. And state governors, mayors and health departments nationwide have been piling on top of each other with bigger and more inventive vaccine incentives in an attempt to overcome ambivalence and stop the community spread of disease.
Alabama offers residents the option of driving their personal vehicle on the famous Talladega Superspeedway. West Virginia offers a chance to win a plethora of prizes, including trucks, custom guns, purses, and savings vouchers. And Alaska recently increased its incentives to include free plane tickets and $ 500 to use for groceries, gasoline, or an all-terrain vehicle.
People who get their COVID-19 vaccine in New Jersey can register for the chance to dine with Democratic Governor Phil Murphy and First Lady Tammy Snyder Murphy at the Governor’s Residence.
Most states offer prizes to anyone who has received a COVID-19 vaccine, to avoid complaining that they only reward latecomers.
As of June 4, 29 states and Washington, DC, sponsored some type of incentive program to encourage residents to get vaccinated, according to a Stateline study. From free coffee, beer and donuts at pop-up clinics to block parties with live entertainment, free passes to state parks, fishing licenses and baseball tickets, states offer a wide variety of incentives to get more people immunized.
Private companies also offer incentives, some in partnership with state and local health departments. In March, for example, Krispy Kreme announced that anyone presenting their vaccination card could get a free iced donut every day until 2021. Kroger and Walmart vaccination clinics in Kentucky are offering free lottery tickets with one shot. NASCAR announced in May a chance to win tickets to the 2022 Daytona 500 race.
The goal, set by President Joe Biden in May, is for 70% of all American adults to have at least one injection of COVID-19 by July 4.
Twelve states have already achieved this goal: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.
Anheuser-Busch announced on June 2 that it will offer free beer to all adults who have had a stroke as soon as the whole country hits the goal. As of June 2, 63% of American adults had received at least one injection, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Somewhere along the line, local health officials got the idea that incentives were needed and that a lottery or a chance to win something big was going to be more compelling than just a giveaway,” said Claire Hannan, executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers. , a nonprofit organization that represents state public health agencies.
“This is uncharted territory,” Hannan said. “There is no formula for using incentives of any kind. We look at survey data and intelligence from other industries on what moves the dial for behavior change.
“This is really about trying to get that level of immunization up to 70%, and anything we can do right now is worth trying,” Hannan said. “We throw things on the wall to see what sticks.”
DeWine announced the Ohio Lottery on May 12; on May 20, the state declared it a success. According to a statement from the state’s health department, the Vax-a-Million cartoons increased the vaccination rate by 28% among adults from May 14 to 17, the weekend following the announcement.
“This dramatic increase in vaccinations indicates that the Vax-a-Million cartoon has had an impact in creating momentum for vaccinations throughout Ohio,” said Stephanie McCloud, director of the Department of Health’s Ohio, in the press release.
It’s unclear whether lotteries in other states will have the desired effect, and whether giveaways such as beer, donuts and coffee will increase COVID-19 vaccination rates.
Two experts in health incentives and behavioral economics at the University of Pennsylvania argued in a May 26 article in the New England Journal of Medicine that cash incentives may be particularly appropriate for low-income people who may be ambivalent about getting vaccinated.
“There is some logic in providing financial incentives, which can be used to offset the indirect costs of immunization – including time spent planning appointments, traveling or waiting; loss of income for hourly paid workers; or expenses such as child care, ”the authors wrote. “These costs disproportionately deter low-income people from getting vaccinated, and the payments could ensure that vaccination is effectively ‘free’ for everyone. “
Incentives, they noted, have been used by governments in the past to guide individual actions that may affect other people. For the COVID-19 vaccination, the authors argued that “the positive return on incentives can be substantial: in the United States alone, the cumulative financial costs of the pandemic are estimated at more than $ 16 trillion. dollars ”.
DeWine made similar arguments in an opinion piece published in The New York Times: “I thought about how much money the country had already spent to fight the virus, including millions of dollars in healthcare costs. health, lost productivity and lost lives. Frankly, the lottery idea would cost a fraction of that – around $ 5.6 million, by our estimate. “
The CDC approved the state’s use of the additional COVID-19 funding for incentives starting May 26. In a document sent to state health departments and obtained by Stateline, the agency wrote that “… new strategies such as direct appeal, via incentives, to potential vaccine recipients will be necessary to achieve the goal. of the White House to vaccinate at least 70% of adults by July 4, 2021. “
DeWine said his state was paying for the more than $ 5 million vaccine lottery with relief funds allocated by Congress under the CARES Act. And according to Republican Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, “It doesn’t appear to violate state law, although it depends on how it’s designed.”
Public health experts agree that now is the time to do everything to encourage more people to get vaccinated and move the country closer to herd immunity.
“We need every effort to increase immunizations,” said Dr. Leana Wen, visiting professor of health policy and management at the Milken School of Public Health at George Washington University.
“Incentives can help. We also need to bring vaccines to people, including with vaccination campaigns in workplaces, schools, churches and community recreation centers.
“I am very concerned about the drop in vaccination rates,” she added. “Some communities will achieve collective immunity, but many others will be very far from it. We are at risk of epidemics this summer and especially as autumn and winter approach. “
In six states, less than half of eligible adults received their first injection. Only 44% received an injection in Mississippi, followed by Alabama (46%), Louisiana (46%), Wyoming (47%), Tennessee (49%) and West Virginia (49 %).
The incentives make a lot of sense, said Dr William Schaffner, professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and medical director and past president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.
In his 50 years in the infectious disease field, he said he had never seen anything like the proliferation of incentives that states and local politicians come up with to get people vaccinated.
They are likely to be much more effective than fear-mongering tactics and onerous warrants, he said. “Approaching people with negative information is not the way to win their hearts and minds. We need to get more people vaccinated. Otherwise, we will have two Americas and the virus will continue to smolder in less vaccinated communities.
“Using carrots instead of sticks is absolutely the way to go. “
© 2021 The Pew Charitable Trusts. Visit to stateline.org. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Copyright 2021 Tribune Content Agency.