Health officials in Ohio have reported a surge in the amount of people getting their first COVID-19 vaccination shots, a week after Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced the $5 million “Vax-a-Million” lottery.
Just days after DeWine said the state would award five vaccinated residents $1 million each in order to raise vaccination percentages, the Ohio Department of Health reported more than 113,000 people received their first dose of the vaccine.
Based on preliminary data, the department said the recent period showed a 53% week-to-week increase (May 13 to 18) compared to the time period before the announcement, where 74,000 people received their first dose (May 6 to 11).
“We are seeing increasing numbers in all age groups, except those 80 and older, who are highly vaccinated already,” said Ohio Dept. of Health director Stephanie McCloud. “Although the rate among that group is decreasing, it is doing so at a less rapid pace, demonstrating some positive impact even in that group.”
Ohio residents 18 and older who have received at least one dose of the vaccine can enter to win one of the five $1 million prizes. Ohioans between the age of 12 and 17 who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine can enter to win one of five four-year, full-ride scholarships to any state college or university in the state. So far, approximately one million entries have been collected, according to Ohio Lottery and Ohio Department of Health.
Last week, DeWine told “CBS This Morning” that he decided to take a chance on this incentive because he wants people in the state to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and its contagious variants.
“No one has tried this and we just thought it was worth to try this to do it,” DeWine said. “We just know this virus is very much out there in Ohio.”
The first of five drawings for the lottery will be on May 26 and continue for the next four Wednesdays. The pool of names for the drawing will be derived from the Ohio secretary of state’s publicly available voter registration database, DeWine said. The money will come from existing federal coronavirus relief funds.