All across the country, lotteries were a popular way to encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
In late May Jefferson County Commissioners offered 11 $10,000 prizes for residents who had at least one dose of the COVID vaccine.
But officials weren’t impressed with how the community responded to the incentive.
“Yes, we were a little disappointed,” said Michael Baker, the health services director for Jefferson County Public Health.
Turns out more people decided to pass on the shot and a chance at $10,000.
“We were just disappointed in the general trend that a lot of people weren’t coming out to get the vaccine,” Baker said.
The county received more than $220,000 in CARES Act funding to help fund a lottery.
Jefferson County Public Health specifically asked the question at some of their clinics, what brought you out, was it the incentive?
“There were a few positive responses, yes that was what finally made them come out and get it, but by far the number one incentive that we saw here in Jefferson County was actually the closer the individual was to a known positive case, especially if that case had a severe case of COVID,” Baker added.
Baker believes the next big motivator to get vaccinated might be the seriousness of the delta variant.
“The fact that it is more contagious spreads a lot easier, has a bigger impact and the fact that the individuals that are most impacted are the unvaccinated,” Baker said. “We’re thinking that could be the next incentive.”
Nearly 65% of eligible adults in Jefferson County have been vaccinated if you include doses given on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation and the Deer Ridge Correctional Institution.
“To this day even after the vaccine incentive, the overall decline in vaccine uptake is really frustrating from a Public Health Perspective, especially when you actually look at how safe these vaccines actually are,” Baker said.
The Oregon Health Authority says statewide it’s not possible to calculate the number of people who got vaccinated as a result of Oregon’s Take Your Shot Lottery, but the data showed a steady vaccination rate during the campaign.