To address a dwindling vaccination rate, Ohio has launched a hefty incentive to those who go get their shots. Gov. Mike DeWine announced Wednesday (May 12) that the state will offer $1 million to five random adults who get a vaccine and full-ride scholarships to college students who attend public colleges.
DeWine said in a statewide televised address, adults’ names will be automatically entered into the “Ohio Vax-a-Million” lottery, and five adults will receive the million-dollar or full-ride scholarship prize. Only Ohioans 18 years of age and older who get their vaccine before the drawings begin on May 26 will be eligible to enter the lottery.
“The pool of names for the drawing will be derived from the Ohio secretary of state’s publicly available voter registration database,” DeWine said. If a person isn’t on that database, the governor said there’s a website where someone can add their name to enter the lottery.
On May 18, 12- to 17-year-olds who get vaccinated will be able to put their name on a portal to win full-ride scholarships to the state’s public universities. Those scholarships will cover tuition, room and board, and books for four years, DeWine said. Five scholarships total will be handed out.
The vaccine lottery prizes are being funded through federal coronavirus relief money.
DeWine addressed critics online who may oppose the idea of using the pandemic relief funds this way.
“I know that some may say, ‘DeWine, you’re crazy! This million-dollar drawing idea of yours is a waste of money.’ But truly, the real waste at this point in the pandemic –– when the vaccine is readily available to anyone who wants it –– is a life lost to COVID-19,” he said.
Drawings for the lottery begin May 26 and one winner will be announced over the course of five consecutive Wednesdays.
Photos: Getty Images