We need to get more people vaccinated. The first big wave of folks who were eagerly waiting for vaccines to be released has probably already been vaccinated. Now public health practicioners are seeking to get shots into the arms of folks who are willing to get vaccinated but aren’t knocking down doors to get vaccinated for any number of very valid reasons. So we’re seeing these stories:
“Free vaccinations were offered Friday at Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club, a strip joint.” @lauriemcginley2’s report from a desperate-to-reopen Las Vegas after Sin City’s lost year. https://t.co/Qozx04FDMh
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) May 24, 2021
And we also see Ohio offering a $1 millions and an OSU full ride per week to get shots in arms:
— Charles Fain Lehman (@CharlesFLehman) May 25, 2021
Several other states are trying out different lottery schemes. Maryland is offering daily prizes. Oregon is offering a prize per county. New York will be doing something.
These are all good ideas. We need shots in arms and the social value of marginal shots in arms is large where a $1 million dollar prize easily pays for itself if it induces an extra thousand people to be vaccinated.
The only caveat on all of these lotteries is that some grad students are stuck crossing their fingers that Pennsylvania does nothing regarding lotteries for another couple of weeks so that there it can serve as the control group for a wide variety of difference in difference specifications or state line discontinuity analyses over the next couple of years. We should build up our evidence base as to what works and what does not work but pragmatically, keeping Pennsylvania or other states from adopting outreach methods that seem to be working is a tough ethical question.