After Opening Vaccine Lottery, Ohio’s Shot Numbers Soar

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, left, gets his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Dr. Kevin Sharrett, Tuesday, Feb. 2, in Jamestown, Ohio. (Ohio Governor’s Office via AP)

What can overcome vaccine hesitancy and fear of needles? The possibility of winning $1 million.

To encourage Ohio residents to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, Governor Mike DeWine announced the state was creating a lottery, and everyone ages 18 and older who would get vaccinated in the coming weeks would be entered to win $1 million and people ages 12 to 17 can win a full college tuition to a state university.

After the Vax-a-Million program began, the number of vaccines distributed  jumped from roughly 12 thousand to more than 25 thousand in a span of a day as hundreds of thousands signed up for the shot and the lottery.

“This is a unique, innovative way to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations, and we are pleased to see so much activity today,” Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud told Fox News. “In addition, we are seeing early indicators of increased uptake after the Vax-a-Million announcement last week, and will continue to monitor this moving forward.”

The Vax-a-Million program will go on for five weeks, with the $5 million coming from some of the federal coronavirus relief aid that was distributed to the state.

Winners will be announced on Wednesdays, starting May 26.

Ohio residents who wish to sign up can register online or call the Ohio Department of Health Call Center at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).