NC Draws First Vaccine Lottery Winner, But Do The Cash Incentives Work?

CHARLOTTE, NC – The first million dollar covid vaccine lottery drawing was completed on Wednesday.  The North Caorlina promotion is part of an effort to increase the rate of vaccinations, which still trails the national average.

“Its a great incentive. It is. It really is,” said one person getting their shot.

Along with the one million dollar cash prize, in Mecklenburg County people can get a $25 gift card for getting the shot.

“Our goal right now is to just get as many people vaccinated and get that number as high as possible right now,” said Dr. Meg Sullivan, the Mecklenburg County Medical Director.

So are the cash incentives working? Sullivan says.. sort of.

“We do know as you have mentioned that it is having a small uptick ,but it is not having, I agree, an overwhelming impact because our numbers are still not where they want to be,” said Sullivan.

She says based on anecdotal evidence, people are getting vaccinated for the small cash prize and the chance to win a million.

She says the full impact is yet to be seen.

“We also need to be working on other innovative ways,” said Sullivan.

According to research by Politico, states offering large cash prizes, guns, marijuana and other prizes have seen a brief small increase in vaccinations, but numbers continue to remain low.

“The curve isn’t working. It’s not getting more people to get vaccinated,” said Eric Yaverbaum.

Yaverbaum has worked in communications for 40 years. He says governments need to reach people on an empathetic level and explain how vaccines impact the greater good.

“However, for us to make sure everybody is healthy going forward, including your own family, we need you to reconsider why you’re not getting the vaccine,” said Yaverbaum.

Which is why health officials say the prizes are only part of the overall vaccination strategy.

“ That is not the major focus of what we’re doing,” said Sullivan, “that is not the only thing we’re doing. We fully recognize that it’s going to take far more than that to get to where we need to go.”

There are three more million dollar cash prize drawings between now and August 4th.  To be eligible, you must be over 18 and have at least one Covid shot.