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Ohio’s COVID vaccine lottery: 1 million entries as health officials report increased vaccination rates

The Ohio Department of Health says COVID vaccinations have grown since Governor Mike DeWine announced the state's vaccine lottery incentive.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Editor's note: Video at the top of this story was originally published on May 18.

Is Governor Mike DeWine's COVID lottery vaccine incentive working to get more Ohioans vaccinated? Health officials say the state's vaccination rates are growing as the first $1 million Vax-a-Million drawing quickly approaches.

“Governor DeWine’s announcement of Ohio Vax-a-Million one week ago today was exactly what we needed to reinvigorate interest in receiving COVID-19 vaccines,” said Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud. “After the announcement, our preliminary data shows that more than 113,000 Ohioans have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccines.”

RELATED: ENTER NOW | Ohio's COVID vaccine lottery registration opens: How to enter the $1 million Vax-a-Million drawings

That information comes as state officials announced that more than 1 million people have already entered Ohio's COVID vaccine lottery. In case you missed it, Ohioans who have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine can enter to win $1 million HERE. The first of five weekly winners will be revealed on May 26.

Here’s how the vaccination rates are increasing, according to details released Wednesday by ODH, after the Vax-a-Million contest was first announced on May 13:

From May 13-18, approximately 74,000 Ohioans received their first dose. That marks a 53% increase from vaccinations given May 6-11. Health officials added that each day from May 13-17 also showed “a higher number of vaccinations than the same day the previous week.”

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“We are seeing increasing numbers in all age groups, except those 80 and older, who are highly vaccinated already,” Director McCloud said. “Although the rate among that group is decreasing, it is doing so at a less rapid pace, demonstrating some positive impact even in that group.”

ODH also noted how the recent addition of those ages 12-15 accounts for 37,771 first doses since last Thursday. Since those ages 12-17 aren’t eligible to win the $1 million vaccine lottery, those who receive at least one dose can enter to win one of five full-ride scholarships to any Ohio state college or university.

State officials provided another update Thursday, saying the Vax-a-Million campaign has "helped drive an increase in vaccination rates among Ohioans 16 and older by more than 28%." The newly released ODH data shows the following information regarding vaccinations in those 16 and older:

  • Dropped by 25% the weekend of May 7 to May 10, compared to the weekend of April 30 to May 3.
  • Increased by 28% for the same age group from May 14 to May 17, the weekend following the announcement of the Vax-a-Million drawings.

"This dramatic increase in vaccinations indicates that the Vax-a-Million drawing has been impactful in creating momentum for vaccinations throughout Ohio," McCloud added Thursday. "We are grateful that the drawings are helping spur Ohioans to take this important measure to protect their health, their loved ones and their community. Vaccines are our best tool to return to the lives we remember from before the pandemic."

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