COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio's governor says nearly 2.8 million residents have registered for Ohio’s Vax-a-Million vaccination incentive prize ahead of Wednesday's drawing.
Gov. Mike DeWine says vaccinations have surged across demographic groups since he announced the incentive program.
The lottery provides five $1 million prizes to adults and five full-ride college scholarships to children. Winners will be announced weekly at the end of the Ohio Lottery’s Cash Explosion TV show.
DeWine announced the incentive program May 12 as a way of building enthusiasm for the slowing COVID-19 vaccination effort.
WHEN WILL THE DRAWINGS BEGIN AND WEEKLY WINNERS BE ANNOUNCED?
Beginning Monday, May 24, the state lottery agency will conduct the drawings for the $1 million prize and full-ride scholarships until Monday, June 21. The winners will be announced on Wednesdays, beginning May 26, and concluding on June 23. The time between the drawings and announcements will be spent verifying winners' eligibility.
If a winner is found not to have been vaccinated, then officials will work down a list of entrants until a qualified one is found, said Pat McDonald, director for the Ohio Lottery.
HOW WILL THE PRIZE BE PAID?
The prize will be paid in a one-time, lump sum shortly after the winner is announced. The winner will be responsible for any taxes
IS THE USE OF FEDERAL FUNDS FOR THE LOTTERY LEGAL?
The use of federal funds for the vaccine lottery system is legal under the Department of Treasury requirements for the $2.2 trillion CARES Act that was passed by Congress last year in order to help states cope with the coronavirus pandemic quickly, McCloud said.
"We have to use this money to bring awareness, to help encourage and to facilitate uptake of the vaccine," the health director said. "We knew we were going to find innovative ways to bring vaccine education and vaccine uptake to Ohioans."
HOW WILL THE STATE MEASURE SUCCESS FROM THIS INCENTIVE?
According to McCloud, the state already sees the vaccine lottery system as a success, even before the first drawing has taken place. The immediate and intense response following the announcement of the lottery last week is seen by state officials as worth the creative bid to overcome the vaccine hesitancy that remains a stubborn problem across Ohio.
In the days following the lottery's unveiling, McCloud said the rate of vaccinations among the 30-to-54 age range increased by 6% after weeks of decline.