News Story

Earlier Poll Anticipated Vaccine Lottery's Underwhelming Results

Downward trajectory of weekly vaccinations not dented by state's prize offers

On July 1, the state of Michigan offered a lottery to entice people to get the COVID vaccine. As of that day, 61.8% of Michigan residents age 16 and older had received at least one dose of a vaccine, according a state vaccine dashboard.

As of July 16, the rate had advanced to 62.5%, an increase of less than one percentage point.

The sweepstakes began July 1 and ends Aug. 3. A total of $5 million in winnings will be paid, which Michigan officials say will come from federal funds.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has portrayed the lottery as a success, but there were questions from the start. Months before Michigan started its own lottery, a poll commissioned by the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce found little support for a vaccination lottery like the one held by the state of Ohio.

A May 30, 2021, report by the Glengariff Group, Inc. gave scant hope for thinking Michigan would succeed: “Respondents who had not yet had the vaccine were asked if a lottery prize similar to Ohio’s prize ($1 million to five Ohio residents that had been vaccinated) would persuade them to get the vaccine. 5.6% of unvaccinated respondents said it would motivate them to get the vaccine while 92.1% said it would not motivate them to get the vaccine.”

In the week ending June 26, health professionals gave a vaccine dose to 86,388 people in Michigan. In the week ending July 3, the first week after the lottery began, 70,807 vaccinations were administered here. For the week ending July 10, the number was down to 62,909.

Others, including researchers at Boston University, have noticed the disappointment and are questioning the usefulness of lotteries as an incentive.

Ohio was the first state to offer a vaccine lottery. According to the state of Ohio, just 48.5% of Ohio residents have had at least one shot of the COVID vaccination. By comparison, 56% of U.S. residents have been vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.