Ohio Ups The Ante: Gov Announces $1 Million Lottery For Adults Vaccinated Against COVID-19

Gov. Mike DeWine (Photo by Justin Merriman/Getty Images)
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May 12, 2021 6:56 p.m.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) on Wednesday announced an eye-popping incentive for adults in the state to get vaccinated — a lottery later this month where adults who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine can win $1 million.

The prize will be paid for by federal coronavirus funds.

DeWine also hit back at the notion that the lottery is a waste of money.

DeWine also announced on Wednesday that he directed the Ohio Department of Health to roll back all COVID-19 health orders, with the exception of those in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, on June 2.

“It is time to end the health orders. It’s been a year. You’ve followed the protocols. You’ve done what we’ve asked. You’ve bravely fought this virus,” DeWine said in a statement.

Ohio’s $1 million lottery for vaccinated adults comes amid lawmakers coming up with creative ways to incentivize their constituents to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as vaccination rates in the country have steadily declined.

Compared to mid-April when the U.S. averaged 3.38 million doses administered per day across a week, the current seven-day average is 2.19 million doses per day, according to CDC data.

The federal government has begun searching for ways to vaccinate the rest of the country’s adult population, as the pace of vaccinations decreases.

Last week, President Biden announced that the administration is shifting its vaccination campaign strategy to focus on getting the shots to younger people, convincing the vaccine-hesitant, and making vaccine access easier for those in hard-to-reach areas and communities.

“Soon, we’ll have reached the adults most eager to get vaccinated, and this effort will shift to a new phase,” Biden said.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced last month that the state will offer young people a $100 savings bond to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Justice said he plans to use a small part of the state’s anticipated $2 billion in federal pandemic funding for testing, protective equipment and economic relief, to pay people to get shots in their arms to protect against COVID-19 as vaccine hesitancy looms large.

“It would be such a drop in the bucket compared to the ungodly amount of money we’re spending right now,” Justice said during an interview with The Washington Post last month.

Recent polling has shown that conservative men, many of whom are supporters of former President Trump, are among the least likely Americans to get the shot.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has been outspoken about his concerns surrounding COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, especially among supporters of Trump.

In response to polls showing significant vaccine hesitancy among Republicans, especially men, McConnell last month urged the group to put aside its reservations so that the public can move on from the pandemic.

“I’m a Republican man and I want to say to everyone, we need to take this vaccine,” McConnell said last month during a press conference in Lexington, Kentucky. “These reservations need to be put aside because the only way, I think, we get to finally put this pandemic in the rearview mirror is with herd immunity.”

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