Promise of $10 million COVID-19 shot lottery fails to boost vaccinations

Promise of $10 million COVID-19 shot lottery fails to boost vaccinations

On July 8, Illinois will begin the “All in for the Win” lottery with $10 million in federal funds used as prizes to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations. Three weeks after the shot lottery announcement, vaccination rates have dropped by more than half.

One vaccinated Illinoisan will win $1 million July 8, the start of a $10 million, two-month prize effort to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations.

But the average vaccination rate has dropped by nearly 60% since the shot prizes were anounced.

The lottery was announced June 17. Since then, the 7-day average vaccination rate has dropped to less than half of what it was on that date. It is at the lowest rate since January. The 7-day average on July 6 was about 18,000 shots administered after the average peaked at 132,000 on April 12.

The state reported 56% of Illinoisans over age 12 were fully vaccinated and nearly 64% had received at least one dose July 6. Gov. J.B. Pritzker is betting “All in for the Win” will help the state break the 80% vaccinated threshold by using federal pandemic funds for prizes.

Any Illinois resident with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by July 1 will be eligible for the shot lottery. The lottery list will update weekly to add newly vaccinated Illinoisans.

The lottery has two parts: a cash lottery with $7 million in prizes, and a scholarship lottery offering $3 million to 12- to 17-year-old vaccinated Illinoisans. Illinois is using federal grant money intended to help combat COVID-19 for the prizes.

The first cash prize will be a $1 million on July 8. Then, every Monday from July 12 to Aug. 16, three winners will each receive $100,000. On Aug. 26, the final lottery will hand two residents $1 million each.

The scholarship lottery also begins on July 8. Three vaccinated 12- to 17-year-olds will be awarded $150,000 college scholarships. On Aug. 26, 17 more teens will be handed $150,000 scholarships.

State leaders placed both their faith and federal grant money into the lottery’s ability to get hesitant residents to receive vaccines. So far, there is little evidence the promise of randomly handing out $10 million is getting shots into arms.

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