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Ohio Vaccine Lottery: how to enter and sign up to win $1 million

A new incentive introduced by Gov. Mike DeWine will see vaccinated Ohioans entered into a weekly draw, which he hopes will encourage more people to get the shot.

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Ohio Vaccine Lottery: how to enter and sign up to win $1 million

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has announced an ingenious way to encourage the state’s residents to sign up for a covid-19 vaccine, as fears grow that the rate of uptake is beginning to slow.

On Wednesday DeWine unveiled details of a state-wide lottery that will see five weekly draws made from 26 May onwards, giving vaccine recipients the chance to win $1 million. The lucrative prize money will come from the federal coronavirus relief funds.

The lottery idea has generated a lot of interest in recent days as well as questions about the legality of utilising federal funds to offer cash prizes. Here’s everything you need to know to be involved in the draw…

How can I be entered into the Ohio vaccine lottery draw?

Eligibility requirements for the lottery are very simple: you just need to be an Ohio resident, aged 18 or above, who has received at least one dose of a covid-19 vaccine. That is all that has been confirmed so far but Dan Tierney, DeWine’s spokesman, said on Thursday: “There will be a briefing next week with health and lottery officials that will lay out the terms and conditions of the contest.”

The winners will be taken from the state’s voter registration database and there will be a mechanism for those not in the database to add their names to the lottery in the coming days. The draw will be overseen by the Ohio Lottery, meaning that the weekly draws will take place on Wednesday evenings at 7:29pm, during the usual lottery broadcasts.

Adults who get the vaccine will be entered into the million-dollar draw but recent changes to the guidelines mean that children as young as 12 will soon be eligible to get a vaccination. As such, DeWine is setting up an alternative lottery for the teenagers which can see them win funding for a full four-year scholarship to an Ohio university, with accommodation included.

Other states offer their own vaccination incentives

The logic behind the Ohio Vaccine Lottery is clear, DeWine is banking on the fact that many residents will be encouraged by the million-dollar prize and the state’s vaccination effort will be boosted.

"The number of Ohioans who get the vaccine will determine what our future looks like, particularly this coming winter," DeWine said upon announcing the incentive. "Everyone has a stake in more Ohioans getting vaccinated."

As such, other states have introduced their own measures to encourage the uptake, although none quite as enticing as Ohio’s. Another to offer a cash incentive is Maryland, who are giving state employees $100 once they have received both doses of the vaccine.

In New York, local baseball parks are being using as vaccination centres and vaccine recipients will be given a free ticket to a New York Yankees or New York Mets game. Gov. Andrew Cuomo described it as a “New York home run.”

It is too soon to see if these efforts have been successful in increasing vaccine rates but Devon Greyson, an assistant professor in health communication at the University of Massachusetts, believes that the measure could be vital.

She said that the country is “shifting away from the rationing phase of vaccine rollout and into improving access and addressing hesitancy. And that’s going to take building relationships and trust … which is harder and will possibly require getting creative.”