Sign-ups begin for Ohio's vaccine lottery today. Here's how to win $1 million or a college scholarship.

·3 min read

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Registrations began Tuesday for the state's Vax-a-Million cash prize and college scholarships, which are being awarded to residents who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Five winners will be chosen to receive $1 million each, and five winners will be chosen to win a full scholarship to a public Ohio college or university.

Ohioans who want a shot at the cash prize or college scholarships must enter through ohiovaxamillion.com or by calling 833-4-ASK-ODH, Gov. Mike DeWine's administration said Monday. That's a change from the initial plan, which would have used voter registration records to choose winners for the cash prize.

By opting-in, winners will agree to have their vaccination records verified and be publicly announced, state officials said.

Here's what to know about the lottery.

Who is eligible to win $1 million?

Ohio residents who are 18 or older, have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and registered for the drawing are eligible for the cash prizes. Five winners will be chosen to receive $1 million each.

Ohio teens ages 12 to 17 who have received one vaccine dose and registered are eligible for the scholarships, which will cover tuition, room and board, and books for four years at a public Ohio college or university. Funds for this program will be deposited for the winners into Ohio 529 Savings Plans.

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How do I sign up for Ohio's vaccine lottery?

Visit www.ohiovaxamillion.com or call 833-4-ASK-ODH to register for the drawings. One sign-up is good for all five drawings. Duplicate entries will be removed.

What is the deadline for getting vaccinated?

To be eligible for the five consecutive Wednesday drawings, participants must have received a first dose of a vaccine by 11:59 p.m. on the Sunday before that week's drawing.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and First Lady Fran DeWine talk to a student while visiting the Columbus COVID-19 mass vaccination site at the Ohio State University's Schottenstein Center on Monday, April 5, 2021.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and First Lady Fran DeWine talk to a student while visiting the Columbus COVID-19 mass vaccination site at the Ohio State University's Schottenstein Center on Monday, April 5, 2021.

How will the drawings work?

The Ohio Lottery will conduct the drawings using its random number generator. It'll be observed by the auditor of state staff. The winner and up to 100 alternates will be selected. The winner's vaccination verified by Ohio Department of Health. If it can't be verified, officials will move on to the first alternate, and so on.

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When will the winners be announced?

The drawings will be held two days before the winners are announced. The announcements will be televised live at 7:29 p.m. on five consecutive Wednesdays, starting May 26.

What are the odds of winning?

It depends on how many people register through the opt-in program.

How will I know if I won?

If state officials need more information to verify vaccination and Ohio residency, the winner may be contacted before the Wednesday announcement. Otherwise, the winner will learn the big news on Wednesday.

The goal is to increase COVID-19 vaccination numbers. Is it working?

The Ohio Department of Health doesn't have a specific numbers goal but noted that since the program was announced, there has been an uptick in people getting vaccinated. Last Friday was the highest vaccine administration day in three weeks, with 25,414 shots given.

The boost isn't attributable solely to 12- to 15-year olds becoming eligible, according to health department director Stephanie McCloud. Vaccinations among 30-year-old to 74-year-old Ohioans had fallen 24% over the past three weeks, but increased 6% on Friday, she said.

When DeWine announced the Ohio Vax-a-Million program on May 12, it drew national media attention. Experts say the big prize money may move people who have been hesitant to get vaccinated.

The prizes and scholarships are being funded by federal CARES Act money that was allocated to the Ohio Department of Health. The Ohio Lottery will administer the drawings.

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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Ohio vaccine lottery: How to sign up for Vax-a-million, scholarship