(Brad Polumbo, Foundation for Economic Education) Government bureaucrats aren’t exactly known for spending taxpayer money wisely. Sadly, the pandemic has proven no exception—with new studies showing that local governments wasted millions on vaccine lotteries that accomplished…nothing.
For example, Ohio implemented a “Vax-a-Million” initiative where it drew weekly lotteries for a $1 million prize among those who got the vaccine. Similar programs have cropped up around the country, such as “VaxCash” in Maryland and “Vax and Scratch” in New York.
In all, states spent at least $90 million, likely more, Business Insider reports, on these kinds of vaccine lottery efforts.
Given the significant sums involved, it’s worth questioning: Did these pro-vaccine government initiatives actually accomplish their goals?
The answer provided by a new study published in JAMA Health Forum is a resounding “no.”
Researchers examined the 19 states with vaccine lottery schemes and compared them to states that did not enact such programs. The authors conclude that the impact these lotteries had on increasing vaccination rates was “very small in magnitude and statistically indistinguishable from zero.”
“There’s a lot of hype around these programs, and we can’t find any evidence that they helped,” economist and study co-author Andrew Friedson told Business Insider.
“Each state’s doing several drawings, and these drawings are around a $1 million a pop, although some of them are less. With 19 states, you’re looking at a large amount of money that’s been spent on this.”
That’s all money that could’ve gone to more productive purposes—or better yet, left in taxpayers’ pockets to begin with.
Yes, in the grand scheme of how much governments spend, $90 million is not actually all that much money. But this utter failure is unfortunately emblematic of the government’s general level of efficiency.
After all, the federal government has lost up to an astounding $200 billion on COVID-19 “stimulus” fraud. That’s more than five times as much as it spent promoting vaccine development, to put the sum in context.