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KATV: $1M for a shot: Why states are turning to vaccine lotteries to boost uptake

Some people may feel lucky enough to have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine. For others who need a little more of an incentive, some states are offering millions of dollars in cash prizes with the goal of getting as many people vaccinated as possible. More than half of the adult population of the United States has been fully inoculated after just six months of the vaccination campaign. COVID-19 cases are down to their lowest level in almost a year and deaths continue to decline. Yet, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that vaccinations are stagnating at around 1.7 million per day, down from over 3 million per day in April. States continue to report more vaccine supply than demand. The behavioral dynamics are complex but according to some researchers, the offer of money could lead some to doubt the value of the vaccine, feel coerced or become skeptical about its benefits. “Although direct payments for vaccination might increase uptake for some people in the short term, the effects just described might ultimately lead to exactly the opposite of the intended effects, especially for those uncertain about whether the risks of vaccination exceed the benefits,” wrote George Loewenstein, an economics and psychology professor at Carnegie Mellon University and Cynthia Cryder, an associate professor of marketing at Washington University in St. Louis.