Ohio was the first state to create a vaccine imitative with a million-dollar and college scholarship incentive. Following the May announcement, Kentucky, California, Colorado and New York have started similar campaigns.
Last week, 3,428,514 Ohioans 18 and older entered the drawing for the $1 million prize and 150,187 people ages 12 to 17 entered the drawing for the college scholarship.
Ohio is using federal CARES Act money to fund the prizes.
Here’s what you should know about the drawings:
What are the prizes?
The Ohio Vax-a-Million campaign will award five $1 million prizes and five full college scholarships to Ohioans 12 and older who have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine over five weeks.
Ohioans 18 and older are eligible for the $1 million prize and residents 12 to 17 are eligible for the scholarship.
Scholarships will cover room and board, tuition and books for four years at any Ohio state college, university or technical or trade school. The winners of the scholarships will choose which school they attend. However, winning the scholarship does not guarantee admission to any school.
The state will work with any winners who wish to attend a private Ohio university, Gov. Mike DeWine said previously.
Winners of the million dollar prize will be responsible for paying any related taxes.
When is the drawing?
The fifth drawing is scheduled to take place today, June 21.
The Ohio Lottery is using a random number generator to select winners, which is a computer that randomly picks a winner and alternates for each drawing.
While the public will not be able to watch the drawing, a representative from the Ohio Auditor’s Office will be present.
Prior to each drawing, the state will go through entries to remove duplicates.
Once the computer selects a winning number, it’s entered into the database to reveal the winner. Then the lottery draw staff and representative from the auditor’s office both sign off on the drawing.
This is the final Vax-a-Million drawing. No future drawings have been scheduled.
For a behind the scenes look at random number generator drawings, view the video from the Ohio Lottery below:
When will the winners be announced?
The fifth round winners of the $1 million prize and college scholarship will be announced Wednesday, June 23.
Winners will be named at 7:29 p.m. on TV and online at https://ohiovaxamillion.com/prizes-schedule.html.
The Ohio Department of Health will use the time between the drawing and naming of the winners to verify that the winners are valid entrants and meet the campaign’s rules. If a winner rejects the prize or is not eligible, the state will select the first alternate and so on until a valid winner is found.
Who has won already?
Ohio has announced eight winners in the four drawings so far.
Winners of the $1 million prize include Suzanne Ward of Findlay, Mark Cline of Union County, Jonathan Carlyle of Toledo and Abbigail Bugenski of Hamilton County. Sean Horning of Cincinnati, Sara Afaneh of Lorain County, Zoie Vincent of Cuyahoga County and Joseph Costello of Englewood won the scholarships.
Last week, Ward and Horning’s mother, Lena, said they had no hesitation about being vaccinated.
“I always knew it was the best for everyone and I encouraged my son to do it,” said Lena.
While Cline was excited to win a million dollars, he said it’s more about getting the vaccine.
“I hope everyone makes the decision to get it,” he said.
Anafeh, who will be in eighth grade next year, said she’s thought about going to college, but hasn’t considered schools yet.
Carlyle plans to use the prize to purchase a home for his family, which includes his 5-month-old son.
“This is so welcome,” he said. “I can’t explain how much pressure this is going to take off.”
Vincent will be a high school senior next year and has already started thinking about college and her future.
“I’m definitely interested in medicine,” she said.
Vincent is considering Ohio State University and Case Western Reserve University for college, but is also looking at other schools.
Bugenske, who won $1 million, said she thought it was a prank when she heard she won and Costello said he still hadn’t really processed it yet.
Costello isn’t sure what he wants to study in college, but is considering Miami University or Ohio State University.
Bugenske said she had plans to buy a used car and would donate some of the $1 million prize to charity as well as invest it.
Does Ohio have other vaccine incentives?
DeWine said earlier that more information about additional vaccine incentives and prizes should be coming once the Vax-a-Million campaign finishes.
“We have some kind of additional incentives and things the private sector has been working on,” he said.
Some private businesses and organizations in the state have already announced their own rewards for getting vaccinated.
In May, Kroger announced its own $1 million giveaways as well as free groceries for a year. The grocery chain is giving away $1 million to five people and free groceries to 50 people.
To sign up, visit https://krogergiveaway.com/.