Report: Washington’s vaccine lottery led to 24% increase in vaccination rates

Jul 9, 2021, 9:09 AM

Washington vaccine lottery...

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

With Washington’s “Shot of a Lifetime” lottery winding to a close, state health officials now have data in hand indicating that it likely encouraged thousands of people to get vaccinated.

Ross: Washington finally has a vaccine lottery!

The lottery has been running regularly scheduled drawings since June 8, picking a new winner for a $250,000 cash price in each of the last four weeks, and culminating in a final $1 million drawing on July 13. It’s also included hundreds of other non-cash prizes, such as airline and sports tickets, gift cards, game systems, smart speakers, and higher education tuition.

Washingtonians who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 have all been automatically entered to win, with the lottery designed as an added incentive for those who have been hesitant. As for how successful it was in encouraging people to actually participate, new data from the state Department of Health indicates that it largely served its purpose.

According to the DOH, vaccination rates for people receiving their first dose were falling between 3 to 10% daily at the end of May. After the lottery was announced in early June, “we saw an increase in vaccination rates across younger age groups, vaccination rates holding steady in middle age groups, and decreased rates of decline in older age groups.”

Winner collects first $250,000 prize for Washington’s vaccine lottery

In total, the DOH estimates that between June 3 and June 22, roughly 28,500 more people received their first dose as a result of the lottery, marking a 24% increase from a scenario where the state hadn’t done the lottery at all.

Meanwhile, the state continues to approach its goal to have 70% of people ages 16 and up start the vaccination process, sitting at 69.4% as of late this week. Data from the federal government — which is limited to residents ages 18 and up, and pulls from several databases not available to the DOH — has Washington at 74.8%.

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Report: Washington’s vaccine lottery led to 24% increase in vaccination rates