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Ohio Will Direct Federal COVID Relief to Million-Dollar Lottery for Vaccinated Residents

Jake Lawler receives his COVID-19 vaccine at the Bradfield Community Center through Health Partners of Western Ohio in Lima, Ohio, March 29, 2021. (Megan Jelinger/Reuters)

Mike DeWine, the Republican governor of Ohio, announced Wednesday that the state will direct federal COVID-19 relief money to a $1 million-a-week lottery for vaccinated adult residents in an effort to incentivize more people to receive the inoculation.

“The money will come from existing federal coronavirus relief funds,” DeWine said.

DeWine said there will be five drawings over the next five Wednesdays, with each winner receiving $1 million.

“The pool of names for the Ohio Vax-a-Million drawing will be derived from the Ohio secretary of state’s publicly available voter registration database,” DeWine said. “We will make available a webpage for people to sign up for the drawings if they’re not in a database we’re using.”

Ohio residents must be 18 years old to be eligible to be entered, DeWine said. However, the governor also introduced a separate lottery that allows vaccinated people under the age of 18 a chance to win a four-year, full scholarship to any of Ohio’s state colleges and universities, including tuition, room, and board.

“The Ohio Department of Health will be the sponsoring agency for the drawings, and the Ohio Lottery will conduct them,” he said.

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