Ohio started a trend: More states turn to lotteries in vaccine hesitancy fight

States are increasingly turning to lotteries as a way to try to get hesitant people vaccinated against the coronavirus and boost lagging numbers.

New York and Maryland on Thursday announced that residents who get the COVID-19 vaccine will be eligible for prize money, with Oregon unveiling similar plans on Friday. All three states are following in the footsteps of Ohio, which launched a lottery-focused campaign earlier this month.

Health officials in the Buckeye State are already reporting some promising results: Vaccinations for people 16 and older increased 28 percent the weekend after the lottery announcement, compared to the previous weekend.

Before the lottery effort, vaccinations were trending down in the state.

“Really the only thing that has changed was the availability of the Vax-a-Million incentive,” Dan Tierney, a spokesman for Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R), said, adding about 10 other states have talked to the governor about the effort.

White House: The White House also gave its support to the idea on Friday.

“From the data we’ve seen, they appear to be working,” White House senior adviser for the COVID-19 response Andy Slavitt said during a Friday press briefing.

Background: The lottery initiative comes as health officials are looking for new ways to spur people to get vaccinated, after the most eager Americans have already received their shots. Nationally, vaccinations have fallen from over 3 million per day in April to about 1.8 million per day, according to Our World in Data.