EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) -- The whole point of Colorado's Comeback Cash program was to encourage COVID-19 vaccines statewide.
A week and a half later, the results are in. 13 Investigates reveal Colorado did not get nearly the bang for its buck that Ohio did. On May 25, Gov. Jared Polis announced most Coloradans who received the COVID-19 vaccine would have five shots at $1 million.
According to the Ohio Health Department, vaccines increased by 28% the weekend following the state's Vax-a-Million program roll-out. The Colorado Comeback Cash drawings are a close copycat of the Ohio incentive. But the results in Colorado don't compare.
Now, state leaders are defending the pricey program yielding slight results so far.
"I don't think anyone expected a spike," said Gov. Jared Polis. "We want to stay at a high level of vaccinations and sustain that over time."
The number of daily COVID-19 vaccinations peaked in Colorado on April 9. More than 82,000 doses were doled out that day alone, according to data from the state's vaccine dashboard. The vaccination rate has since dropped significantly since then. Hence, the Colorado Comeback Cash announcement.
Unlike Ohio, however, the statewide vaccination rate remained steady following news of Colorado's vaccine sweepstakes on May 25.
- May 21: 33,142 doses administered
- May 22: 28,072 doses administered
- May 23: 13,504 doses administered
- May 24: 20,947 doses administered
- May 25: 24,020 doses administered - day lottery was announced
- May 26: 23,650 doses administered
- May 27: 23,400 doses administered
- May 28: 23,670 doses administered
- May 29: 15,127 doses administered
- May 30: 7,276 doses administered
El Paso County is one area in the state still struggling with vaccine participation, especially when compared to Denver County, which is the closest in size to El Paso.
In the week before the announcement of the million-dollar drawing, vaccinations in El Paso County increased by 2.3%, according to data from El Paso County Public Health. However, in the week following the news of the vaccine lottery, vaccinations in El Paso County increased by about half that, 1.2%.
"Yeah so this is the first week," said Gov. Polis. "We're expecting that you and your colleagues will cover the winners and that of course will help generate interest."
According to the state, the prize money for the Colorado Comeback Cash comes from federal CARES Act funding set aside for vaccine ad campaigns.