Ohio Launches $5 Million Lottery to Boost Vaccinations in the State

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced a $1 million lottery for residents that have been vaccinated in a bid to boost immunizations in the state, The Columbus Dispatch reports.

DeWine said the lottery would include $1 million prizes for five residents who have been vaccinated. The state will also award five full-ride scholarships to state universities to students who get vaccinated.

The move comes after vaccinations declined 80% since their peak last month. Only about 42% of Ohioans have gotten at least one dose.

"I know that some may say, ‘DeWine, you’re crazy! This million-dollar drawing idea of yours is a waste of money,’” DeWine said. “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."

The drawings will be held every Wednesday for the next five weeks using the state vaccination database. The scholarships are open to any Ohioans between 12 and 17 years old.

The funds will come from existing federal coronavirus relief aid.

States get creative:

Ohio is the first state to try the lottery approach, though Kentucky’s lottery has also been offering free lotto tickets to residents who get the shot.

West Virginia is offering $100 savings bonds to any residents between 16 and 35 who get vaccinated.

New Jersey recently announced a “shot and a beer” program for residents over 21 who get vaccinated.

Maine is offering free hunting and fishing licenses and gift cards to all adult residents who get vaccinated by Memorial Day.

Vaccinations tick up:

Vaccinations have dropped precipitously since around the time that the federal government paused the Johnson & Johnson vaccine but the numbers ticked up this week.

The US is averaging 2.2 million shots per day over the past week, up slightly from under 2 million the previous week.

More than 46% of the country has received at least one shot and 35% are fully vaccinated.

A recent study by researchers at UCLA found that people reported that they would be more likely to get vaccinated if they were offered cash payments between $25 and $100.


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