The impact of the vaccination lottery in New Mexico is difficult to assess | Local News


State immunization figures from February through early July suggest that New Mexico’s lottery program for residents inoculated with COVID-19 – an initiative to boost interest in the vaccine – has produced a modest impact, if applicable.

Organizations and studies across the country have come to different conclusions about the value of competition incentives when it comes to increasing coronavirus vaccinations. Doctors in New Mexico said on Monday that it would take a variety of strategies to reach the many people who still have not been vaccinated.

“It gets more and more difficult over time,” said Dr. Jason Mitchell, chief medical officer of Presbyterian Healthcare Services in Albuquerque.

“The lottery is one of those coins that has helped,” but it will also require encouragement from family members, trusted community representatives, doctors and nurses, mobile vaccination clinics and others. strategies, Mitchell said.

The state kicked off the Vax 2 the Max lottery draw on June 1, investing $ 10 million in federal coronavirus aid.

Eight days later, the New Mexico Department of Health announced that the seven-day average of new immunization registrations rose to 1,437 from 1,352 the week before.

But the daily average of vaccinations administered in the state during the first seven days of each month from February to July shows an overall decline after the announcement of the draw. While the daily average in early June was 5,891, the number in July had fallen to 2,096.

This continued a downward trend in the average number of daily inoculations in the state since May, after peaking at 18,880 from April 1-7. It was at this point that the state began to expand eligibility to more groups of residents and facilitate the immunization planning process.

A Boston University School of Medicine study on the Ohio Vaccine Lottery, published earlier this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association, said the researchers “could not find evidence that a lottery-based incentive in Ohio was associated with increased rates of adult COVID-19 vaccinations.”

Instead, the researchers wrote, the Ohio lottery began when the federal government cleared the vaccine for teens in May. Vaccination rates in the United States have increased, surpassing those in Ohio, the report said, perhaps because teenage eligibility has also led to an increase in adult vaccinations.

Like Mitchell, Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani, professor of public health at New Mexico State University, said a variety of strategies are needed to increase the number of vaccinations.

Reluctance to vaccinate can involve political orientation, mistrust of science and a misunderstanding of the potential severity of the disease, Khubchandani wrote in an email. New Mexico “fortunately does a lot and tries a lot of ways,” he wrote.

Dr Wendy Johnson, chief medical officer at La Familia Medical Center in Santa Fe, said tackling misinformation about the vaccine was vital. “The only thing that can fight that, I think, is responsible journalism and good information,” Johnson said.

She said she welcomes any strategies to get people vaccinated. “I think it’s worth trying everything at this point.”

While the lottery may not have resulted in a significant change in the number of vaccinations, David Morgan, a spokesperson for the New Mexico Department of Health, said there were signs of a large enthusiasm for the contest. As of June 2, the number of vaccinated people who opted for the draw was 75,138. By July 5, that number had risen to 546,790, he said.

Currently, 72% of New Mexicans aged 18 and over have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine and 64% are fully immunized.

The Kaiser Family Foundation said in its June survey that some Americans would be more likely to get vaccinated if the federal government gave full approval for vaccines instead of emergency use authorization.

The foundation said that on other incentives and interventions, a million dollar lottery could motivate about a quarter of the unvaccinated to get vaccinated, while mobile vaccination clinics could motivate about 1 in 6 people. .

Thanks to New Mexico’s Vax 2, the Max Sweepstakes, 12 New Mexico residents have won $ 250,000 each so far. The state selects a winner from each of the four regions in weekly draws. Two more draws of $ 250,000 will take place in July. A big winner of $ 5 million will be selected in early August.

Taylor Brooke, a teacher at Gadsden High School south of Las Cruces, didn’t need the raffle to propel her towards vaccination. Brooke said she was vaccinated earlier this year.

But because New Mexico’s raffle includes those who have been previously vaccinated, Brooke, 23, became one of the $ 250,000 winners in June.

“I’m still in shock. I know it’s been a while since,” she said on Monday.

His message on coronavirus vaccinations: “You save yourself. You save others you love. You are selfless in getting vaccinated.”

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