$1 million for getting the COVID vaccine? Ohio is offering huge prize in new lottery

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Ohio is counting on money to convince residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and Wednesday announced the launch of a vaccination lottery boasting $1 million prizes.

You have to play to win, and you can’t play if you aren’t vaccinated, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said.

Any resident of Ohio who has received at least one dose of a vaccine is eligible for the “Ohio Vax-a-Million” drawing, which is sponsored by the state Department of Health and will be conducted by the Ohio Lottery, DeWine said.

“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,” DeWine said in a tweet.

The first $1 million winner will be announced May 26, followed by another every Wednesday for four more weeks.

Money for the lottery will come from existing pandemic relief funding.

During his statewide address, DeWine also said vaccinated children 12 to 17 years old are eligible to win a full-ride scholarship to “our State of Ohio universities.” That winner will be announced May 26 along with the first $1 million recipient. The scholarship drawings also will run five weeks.

“We will have further, specific details tomorrow and in the days ahead,” DeWine said.

As of Wednesday, more than 4,256,000 Ohioans, roughly 36%, have completed coronavirus vaccination, according to state Department of Health data. Nearly 42% have received at least one dose.

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