CLEVELAND (WJW)– Weeks ago, it had everyone talking: Ohio’s Vax-A-Million lottery.
Now, a new study suggests the lottery incentive did not increase COVID-19 vaccination rates across the state, despite Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine touting its success.
The study was conducted by Boston University’s School of Medicine, where researchers compared vaccination rates in Ohio with several states who had no lottery incentive. What they found is that right after the lottery was announced, Ohio did in fact see an increase in vaccinations.
However, the study suggests similar spikes happened across the United States because of the expansion of Pfizer vaccination to ages 12 to 15.
“Governor DeWine saw the study and recognized immediately what the error is. The study is flawed because it is focused on 12 to 15 year olds,” said Dan Tierney, spokesperson for DeWine.
According to Tierney, the state had already taken 12 to 15 year olds out of the equation when compiling data on the Vax-A-Million campaign.
“The first week after Vax-a-million, we saw a 44 percent increase in Ohioans 16 and older getting the vaccine. According to the Washington Post, no other state saw an increase along those lines. We saw a 17 percent increase in those 16 and older in the second week,” Tierney said.
Tierney added there were intangible benefits to the Vax-A-Millions campaign.
For one, publicity. They said looking back at the amount of coverage they got of the lottery, it would have cost them close to $50 million in air time.
“One of the other things that was unanticipated but makes sense in retrospect, was it got people talking about the vaccine in a way that was fun, less fear,” Tierney said.
With vaccination rates stalling in Ohio and other states, Tierney said more incentives are coming that have not yet been announced.
“It’s moving up the vaccination rate that is so important, especially with the delta variant going on right now,” Tierney said.