COVID Vaccine Lottery: Ohio Gov. DeWine Offers Million Dollar Prizes and College Scholarships

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R) announced the state will hold lottery drawings awarding one million dollar prizes to five adults who have been vaccinated against the COVID-19 China coronavirus with five youths eligible for four year scholarships to Ohio State University. DeWine made the announcement during an address to the state Wednesday evening in which he announced nearly all state COVID mandates will be lifted effective June 2.

DeWine’s statement on the lifting of the health orders, “Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud will remove all pandemic health orders, except those for nursing homes and assisted living facilities, effective three weeks from today on June 2nd. This will give anyone who has not been vaccinated time to get the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine or the first dose of Pfizer or Moderna and be well on the way to full immunity.”


DeWine statement on the vaccine lotteries (excerpt):

The number of Ohioans who get the vaccine will determine what our future looks like, particularly this coming winter. Everyone has a stake in more Ohioans getting vaccinated. And so tonight, I am asking businesses across Ohio to reach out and offer incentives to get more people vaccinated. The Reds and Indians are offering discounts on tickets to their games. The minor league teams are, as well. With a vaccine, White Castle is offering free butter cakes on a stick! Kroger is offering employees $100 in cash. And Scott’s Miracle-Gro, Worthington Industries, Marathon Petroleum, and many others have provided clinics at work sites for their employees and their families. We need more businesses to offer these kinds of incentives.

Getting our 12- to 17-year-olds vaccinated is so important that we will have a separate incentive for them. Two weeks from tonight — on Wednesday, May 26th — we will announce the winner of a drawing of all those 17 years-old and under who have been vaccinated, and the winner will receive a full, four-year scholarship to our State of Ohio universities. This will include tuition, room-and-board, and books.

Next Tuesday, on May 18th, an electronic portal will be opened up for young people who have been vaccinated to be able to register.

We will do this every Wednesday, for five straight Wednesdays — each time randomly selecting one student to receive the full, four-year scholarship.

Now, let’s talk about the adults. Two weeks from tonight on May 26th, we will announce a winner of a separate drawing for adults who have received at least their first dose of the vaccine. This announcement will occur each Wednesday for five weeks, and the winner each Wednesday will receive 1 million dollars.

The pool of names for the “Ohio Vax-a-Million” drawing will be derived from the Ohio Secretary of State’s publicly available voter registration database.

Further, we will make available a webpage for people to sign up for the drawings if they are not in a database we are using.

The Ohio Department of Health will be the sponsoring agency for the drawings, and the Ohio Lottery will conduct them. The money will come from existing federal Coronavirus Relief Funds.

To be eligible to win, you must be at least 18 years of age or older on the day of the drawing. You must be an Ohio resident. And, you must be vaccinated before the drawing.

We will have further, specific details tomorrow and in the days ahead. 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 want it — is a life lost to COVID-19.

Ohio’s vaccination rate has slumped, while the Ohio legislature has been moving to rescind DeWine’s health emergency powers, having overridden his veto of a bill in March that curtailed the governor’s powers.

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