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Ohio to use millions in federal funds for vaccine lottery giveaways

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWineMike DeWineOhio GOP governor comes out against controversial state anti-vaccine bill Overnight Health Care: Biden says US donation of 500 million vaccines will 'supercharge' global virus fight | Moderna asks FDA to clear COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents FDA extends shelf life of J&J vaccine amid concern over expiring doses MORE (R) announced on Wednesday the state will give away millions of dollars in federal funds through a lottery for people who have received the coronavirus vaccine in an effort to incentivize more Ohioans to get vaccinated.

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According to DeWine, Ohioans aged 18 and older who have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine will be entered into a lottery to win $1 million.

Beginning May 26, there will be a total of five weekly drawings, with each winner receiving $1 million.

Ohioans under the age of 18 who are eligible to receive a vaccine will be entered into a separate drawing for the chance to win a four-year full scholarship to any of Ohio’s state colleges and universities, including full tuition, room and board, DeWine announced.

The winning payouts will be funded by existing federal coronavirus relief funds, according to DeWine.

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The pool of names entered into the lottery will be obtained from the Ohio Secretary of State’s publicly available voter registration database, DeWine said. There will, however, be a webpage for people to sign up for the lottery if they are not in the database being used by the state.

The Ohio Department of Health will administer the drawings, with technical assistance from the Ohio Lottery Commission.

“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.

Nearly 42 percent of Ohioans have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the state’s Department of Health.