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Impact Government & Policy

Behavioral Science Informs Government Vaccine Incentive Program

nurse wearing blue medical gloves administers a vaccine to a person in their arm

The COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe with millions of deaths attributable to the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, according to the WHO. In 2021, the FDA approved the first COVID-19 vaccine, but that was just the first hurdle; getting people to actually take the vaccine was the next obstacle.


The Behavior Change for Good Initiative (BCFG) and CHIBE helped Philadelphia launch the Philly Vax Sweepstakes, an incentive program to help boost COVID-19 vaccination rates among Philadelphia residents. Philadelphia City Mayor Jim Kenney announced the incentive program in June 2021 in a press conference, which spotlighted the contributions that Drs. Katy Milkman, Angela Duckworth, Kevin Volpp, and Alison Buttenheim (all CHIBE members) provided to the design of the Philly Vax sweepstakes. While there were a number of state vaccine lotteries that launched around the country, Philly’s program had some unique features driven by behavioral insights as well as a desire to target the city’s most under-vaccinated communities. CHIBE is proud to have embedded behavioral science within government policy. Read more here.

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