Ohio's COVID vaccine lottery, which offers five inoculated residents the chance to win $1 million each, has hit the jackpot in its big goal.
On Monday, just five days after Gov. Mike DeWine announced the lottery, state officials reported that over 25,400 vaccine shots were administered in Ohio on Monday, which marks the highest vaccination day in the past three weeks. The news was announced by Gov. DeWine during a press conference.
According to NBC News, the state saw a 6 percent increase of vaccine rates for ages 30 to 74 over the last three weeks, during which rates were steadily declining in that age range.
The exact number of residents that got vaccinated over the past week will be available by the weekend, according to reports.
"Not only have we achieved our goal of increasing public awareness and interest, but we have slowed what was a consistent decline, and in certain age groups we're seeing an increase again," state Health Director Stephanie McCloud told NBC News. "This is doing exactly what we intended it to do."
DeWine, a Republican, said during Monday's press conference, "This is the way we get out of this pandemic, more and more Ohioans are getting vaccinated, our cases are going down."
The reports of the vaccination spike in Ohio also comes after the FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds on May 10.
Under DeWine's "Vax-a-Million" initiative, which was announced May 12, any Ohio residents age 18 and older that have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine will be entered into a lottery to win $1 million.
The first winner will be announced May 26, DeWine previously said, and the drawings will continue for the following four weeks on Wednesdays. In total, $5 million will be given out.
Meanwhile, vaccinated Ohioans under 18 will be entered into a separate lottery for a chance at winning one of five full, four-year scholarships at "any of Ohio's state colleges and universities, including full tuition, room, and board," DeWine announced last week.
Kirk Irwin/Getty Images Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine
DeWine also acknowledged possible critics of the monetary incentive by informing residents the millions given away are "from existing federal Coronavirus Relief Funds."
As of Tuesday, May 18, 43.2 percent (over 5 million people) of Ohio's population have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. Of that amount, 37.8 percent (over 4.4 million people) has received both doses and are fully vaccinated against the virus, according to the state's department of health.
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