BU Medical School study questions if lottery will help get more people vaccinated

BOSTON — Do you think a vaccine lottery is a good idea?

Some told Boston 25 News on Friday they thought it is, even though they already got the shot.

”It’s a pretty good idea,” said Hussam, who declined to give his full name.

He can certainly play but he does not think the idea persuading people to get vaccinated with money will work.

“People who didn’t get the vaccine didn’t get it for a specific reason. I don’t think money will change that reason,” he said .

And that’s exactly what a new study by the Boston University School of Medicine has found.

Dr. Allan Walkey, a medical professor and critical care doctor at Boston Medical Center, authored the study.

“So what we concluded from that is there didn’t seem to be any strong effect from the lottery on increasing vaccination rates,” said Dr. Walkey.

He and his team researched the first in the nation Vaxamillions Lottery in Ohio for four weeks. They also factored in the FDA expanding the COVID-19 shot to 12- to 15-year-olds, which happened about the same time.

Walkey says there was an increase in vaccinations but that happened across the country as well.

”When you look at the rest of the United States that didn’t have a lottery, that small bump that Ohio saw was actually occurring everywhere at the same time,” said Walkey.

He is unsure if the lottery is enough to entice unvaccinated people to get the shot. Still, there are many who are excited about it. One unidentified woman we spoke to says she will certainly play.

“Yeah totally, honestly yeah,” she said.

Walkey says getting to those who aren’t vaccinated will take more than money.

”If you haven’t gotten vaccinated yet it’s often you have a strong belief that’s driving that,” said Walkey.

He suggests outreach programs to find out why people are hesitant. And he urges everyone to get vaccinated.

”I would encourage, as a critical care doctor who has seen the worst of Covid, that everyone should get vaccinated,” said Walkey.

We reached out to Gov. Charlie Baker’s office to see what they think about the BU Medical School study. So far we have not heard back.

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