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The Margin: Ohio sees COVID vaccination rate soar 45% since announcing Vax-A-Million lottery

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Looks like the chance to win a million bucks can give vaccination rates a real shot in the arm. 

Ohio saw its COVID-19 vaccination rate jump 45% between May 14-19 as compared to the previous week, thanks in part to the state’s Vax-A-Million lottery, Gov. Mike DeWine told reporters on Wednesday. Last week, the state said it recorded a 28% spike in vaccinations in the days following the lottery announcement. 

An Associated Press analysis found that the number of Ohio residents ages 16 and up who got their first COVID shot spiked 33% in the week after DeWine announced the state would be giving away $1 million prizes and in-state public college scholarships as incentives to get more residents inoculated. 

Each week, adult Ohioans who have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose will enter a random drawing to win a million dollars. And younger vaccinated Ohio residents between the ages of 12 and 17 will be part of a weekly random drawing to get a four-year scholarship to an Ohio public university, which will include tuition, room, board and books. There will be five winners for each prize selected over the next five weeks, with the first two being named on Wednesday night. 

More than 2.7 million adults registered for the cash prizes, and more than 100,000 teens are vying for the scholarships. The first two winners will be revealed at 7:29 p.m. ET on Wednesday. And each Wednesday moving forward, another adult and another teen winner will be revealed at 7:29 p.m. through June 23. 

The Vax-A-Million hype has spurred states including New York and Maryland to also announce lotteries for residents who get vaccinated against the coronavirus. Last week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a “Vax & Scratch” program, where New Yorkers 18 and older who get vaccinated between May 24-28 at select mass vaccination sites  will receive a free $20 scratch-off ticket for a chance to win up to $5 million. And Maryland’s VaxCash lottery announced last week will award one vaccinated resident a $40,000 prize each day between May 25 and July 3, leading up to a grand prize drawing on July 4 for a $400,000 prize. The first two winners of the $40,000 prize have already been selected this week, the Baltimore Sun reported. Both winners have remained anonymous. 

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