NEWS & ANALYSIS

‘OHIO VICE’: State Appeals to People's Desire to Gamble, Lottery Incentive Increases Vaccine Rate


Ohio is catering to its gambling-loving citizens by offering a $5 million “Vax-a-Million” lottery, and they may have hit the jackpot. 

The state reported a whopping increase in COVID-19 vaccines since announcing the incentive.

Gov. Mike DeWine announced the lottery on May 12 that will shell out a $1 million prize to five adults. Starting May 26 and running for five weeks, a winner will be announced each Wednesday, Good Morning America reports.

Two days after the lottery was announced, Friday marked the highest vaccination day the state saw in three weeks, with 25,414 shots given. 

Residents between the ages of 30 to 74 came out in troves and shots for the age range increased by 6 percent last week. This is the same age group that previously declined in vaccine numbers. 

“We’re getting anecdotal reports back from health departments that we’re seeing an increase [in vaccinations]. We had been seeing a downturn that continued, fewer and fewer people were getting vaccinated. It appears that we have bottomed out on that and there’s some indication that we’re certainly seeing an increase,” DeWine said Monday. 

“This is the way we get out of this pandemic, more and more Ohioians are getting vaccinated, our cases are going down,” he added. 

As of Tuesday, over 4.9 million people had started the vaccine and over 4.3 million had completed the series. 

Any resident of Ohio over the age of 18 who has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by the date of each drawing is eligible to enter the lottery. They must go online or call the state Health Department to enter starting each Tuesday. 

The state’s health department said it will use “federally funded Coronavirus Relief Funds to fund” the lottery.