OHIO, USA — With Ohio rolling back COVID-19 restrictions, vaccinated folks are ready to return to the old normal. But with the 2nd round of "Vax-a-Million" winners now revealed, the Ohio Department of Health is reporting that far fewer people got the shot this week than in weeks prior.
"There’s no question that Vax-a-million has had a very favorable impact here in the state of Ohio," says Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer for ODH. "Prior to the launch of that effort, we had a progressively downward trend in vaccination rates in the state."
At a webinar Wednesday, Dr. Vanderhoff praised the impact the "Vax-a-Million" lottery has had on the number of Ohioans getting the shot, and says it's too early to tell if the bump in the number of vaccinations seen in past weeks has waned.
RELATED: "Vax-a-Million" scholarship winner from Mayfield "super excited" about the future, hopes to become a pediatrician
"I think it’s premature to look at our numbers coming out of a holiday weekend and make much in the way of conclusions," said Vanderhoff.
The week the lottery was announced, the state saw over 147,000 new vaccinations. During week two, that number jumped to nearly 190,000 doses administered. During week three, however, only 128,000 vaccinations were put in arms - about 60,000 fewer than the week prior.
Even with fewer people vaccinated this week than last, the number being treated for COVID-19 in hospitals has fallen.
MetroHealth recently reported that it will close one of its ICUs, because it no longer needs it to treat COVID-19 patients.
RELATED: 2nd Ohio Vax-a-Million winners announced; Mayfield Village student wins full-ride college scholarship
And while hospital rates seem to continue to fall, University Hospitals officials say that virtually every COVID-19 patient recently treated has been unvaccinated.
"We’ve not seen a single patient who’s been vaccinated end up on a ventilator. We’ve not seen a single person who’s been vaccinated with a normal immune system even need oxygen," says Dr. Keith Armitage, infectious disease specialist at University Hospitals.
Ohio ranks 26 out of the 50 states for the percentage of people fully vaccinated. Around 40 percent of Ohioans are now fully vaccinated.
Vermont leads the nation with just over 56 percent of its population vaccinated, Mississippi takes the last spot with just 27 percent having taken the shot.
"I’m encouraged by what we are seeing and the impact that "Vax-a-Million" has had and continues to have," says Vanderhoff.
The third round of Vax-a-million winners will be announced Wednesday, June 9 at 7:29 p.m. To enter, go to ohiovaxamillion.com