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State lotteries have not helped raise vaccination rates

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) – An attempt to win $ 1 million has done nothing to reduce the number of people caught by COVID-19.

According to a new study, lotteries in 19 states designed to encourage people to be vaccinated for COVID-19 have not changed the rate of those who got the chance. In fact, vaccination rates were the same in lottery and non-lottery states.

‘It is possible that the group you are trying to convince to be vaccinated is not convinced that they want it vaccine not at all, ”said researcher Andrew Friedson, an associate professor of economics at the University of Colorado at Denver.

“Perhaps they are subject to some misinformation about the dangers of vaccines or about the benefits of vaccines, and if you can not adjust your beliefs, no incentive will make a difference,” he said. said.

For the study, Friedson and his colleagues looked at the number of COVID-19 vaccinations given per 1,000 people before and after the lotteries were announced. The researchers compared these data with the number of COVID-19 vaccines given in states that offer no price incentives.

The investigators found little or no link between lotteries and vaccination rates. There was essentially ‘zero difference’ in vaccination rates in states that had a lottery compared to those that did not, Friedson said.

“If you believe something is dangerous, a lottery ticket will not convince you to do so,” he remarked.

Friedson believes that the only approach that those who refuse to be vaccinated can take is an education program that can convince people that the vaccines are safe and effective.

“I’m willing to try anything within reason,” he said. “We’ve tried lotteries, it doesn ‘t seem to work, and now it’s time to go ahead and try something new.”

But it’s hard to change your mind, Friedson said, and there may be a hardcore group that is not vaccinated, no matter what you do.

“I hope not,” he said. “But it’s definitely a possibility. We’re definitely going into a group that’s a lot harder to convince, and I do not know what it’s going to take.”

The report was published online on October 15 JAMA Health Forum.

Dr. Kevin Schulman, a professor of medicine at Stanford University’s Clinical Excellence Research Center in Palo Alto, California, believes lotteries are worth it.

“Lotteries were an important tactic to try to increase vaccination at the state level. Many of the states that implement lotteries were ‘red’ states, so I’m thankful that the Republican leadership started with vaccination efforts. Ultimately, a tactic was not.” a communication strategy, ‘Schulman said.

Communication tactics need to be tested and evaluated to see if they are effective, Schulman added. “However, if a tactic fails, you have to implement other approaches to vaccine communication. In many cases, the lottery was a single attempt, and when it did not have the intended effect, we saw no follow-up with other programs,” he said. said.

Another expert is not surprised that it does not work to offer money to people to combat their beliefs.

“Most people make health choices that weigh the risks, costs and benefits. In the case of vaccines, many have chosen to be vaccinated as it is valued to lead a long, healthy life,” Iwan Barankay said. He is an associate professor of business economics and public policy at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in Philadelphia.

“Those who have not been vaccinated have not been plagued by the costly health benefits, so it seems illogical that a few dollars in expected payouts could convince them otherwise. The result that small incentives do not affect health outcomes has been in several recent trials. , ”He explained.

A recent randomized field trial in Philadelphia with divergent incentives to be vaccinated also shows no effect on vaccination rates, Barankay said.

“However, there are real socio-economic and cultural barriers that lead people to avoid vaccines based on their preferences or experiences – but again, small dollar amounts cannot address this,” he added.

It’s the experience of seeing friends, family and colleagues get sick, and the profits that vaccine mandates hold bring in vaccination figures that make a difference, Barankay said.

“It is important to continue the effort to show people real data from their communities about the hospitalization rates of vaccinated versus vaccinated, and how mandates in enterprises reduce the number of cases of COVID due to an increase in vaccination rates,” he said. he said.

More information

For more information on vaccines against COVID-19, go to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: Andrew Friedson, PhD, Associate Professor, Economics, University of Colorado, Denver; Kevin Schulman, MD, Professor, Clinical Excellence Research Center, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California .; Iwan Barankay, PhD, Associate Professor, Business Economics and Public Policy, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; JAMA Health Forum, 15 October 2021, online

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