State Watch

Ohio vaccination rate jumps 28 percent after lottery announcement

Coronavirus vaccinations in Ohio jumped 28 percent in the days following the governor’s announcement of a lottery for residents who get the shots, state health officials said Thursday.

Vaccinations among people 16 and older had been down 25 percent May 7 to 10, compared to the previous weekend. After Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced the lottery on May 12, and vaccination rates increased 28 percent in the period of May 14 to 17, the state Department of Health said.

Residents who have been vaccinated will be eligible for five drawings of $1 million each.

“This dramatic increase in vaccinations indicates that the Vax-a-Million drawing has been impactful in creating momentum for vaccinations throughout Ohio,” Stephanie McCloud, director of the Ohio Department of Health, said in a statement. “We are grateful that the drawings are helping spur Ohioans to take this important measure to protect their health, their loved ones, and their community.”

Following Ohio’s announcement, New York and Maryland both unveiled plans for their own versions of a lottery.

Public health officials have said that this stage of the vaccination campaign is more challenging since the most eager recipients have already gotten their shots. The number of vaccinations nationally has fallen to about 1.8 million per day, down from more than 3 million a day during parts of April, according to Our World in Data.

“I know that some may say, ‘DeWine, you’re crazy! This million-dollar drawing idea of yours is a waste of money.’ But truly, the real waste at this point in the pandemic — when the vaccine is readily available to anyone who wants it — is a life lost to COVID-19,” DeWine wrote on Twitter earlier this month when announcing the program.

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 Lottery Maryland Mike DeWine New York Ohio Pandemic vaccination campaign

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