May 19, 2022

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has come up with an unorthodox incentive to encourage all Ohioans to get the COVID-19 vaccine. He announced that the state is giving away full scholarships to vaccinated adolescents aged 17 and younger and offers a $1M lottery for vaccinated adult Ohio Citizens. Around 4.2 million Ohioans had completed the vaccination process as of Tuesday. 

Adults who have been administered with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and are at least 18 years old, may join a lottery that will provide a prize of $1 million each Wednesday for the next five weeks. The drawings will be done by the Ohio Lottery, and the funds will come from existing federal pandemic relief dollars, the Governor said.

The state will also give five full four-year scholarships to an Ohio public university, which will include tuition, books, and room-and-board, to all vaccinated Ohioans who are under the age of 18 through a random drawing.

The pool of names for the drawing will come from the Ohio Secretary of State’s voter registration database that is publicly available, according to DeWine. Those who are not in the database can sign up for the drawings on the official state webpage. 

DeWine acknowledged this incentive might be regarded as a waste of money, but he believed that the real waste is a life lost due to COVID-19 when the vaccine is already available for anyone who wants it.

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The Governor reported a sharp drop in the number of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, and he is pleased by the high vaccination rates among people 65 and older. He also reiterated that the vaccine is a tested and proven weapon that should be availed by all Ohioans ages 12 and older.

“It’s time to end the health orders. It’s been a year. You’ve followed the protocols,” DeWine said. “You’ve done what we’ve asked. You’ve bravely fought this virus.” He added: “There comes a time when individual responsibility simply must take over.”