While most people have got their vaccines, a still sizeable minority have not — and motivating them to do so is a tricky business. Vaccine lotteries have been rolled out in both Canada and the U.S. President Joe Biden recently urged states to offer $100 incentives to people who get vaccinated. Prizes like trips and vacations are being used to entice the fence-sitters to go out and get their shots.
The question becomes: Do these programs work? The short answer is a qualified yes. Incentives have been used and studied in many different fields of medicine and have been used to get people to quit smoking, exercise more and eat better.
Convenience, simplicity and the promise of money or prizes are not negligible factors, especially for younger people who make up most of the unvaccinated at this point. While it is easy to turn your nose up at some of these programs and write them off as silly or unlikely to succeed, the reality is that they do work. They have small but incremental benefits. And when it comes to the vaccine roll-out, every little bit helps.