The state of Ohio will give five residents $1 million each as a monetary incentive for getting vaccinated against COVID-19, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine announced on May 12 as he lifted CCP virus pandemic restrictions statewide.
The Ohio Department of Health will be the sponsoring agency for the drawings, and the state Lottery will conduct them, DeWine said. The first drawing will occur on May 26.
“I know that some may say, ‘DeWine, you’re crazy! This million-dollar drawing idea of yours is a waste of money,’” DeWine said in announcing the initiative on Twitter. “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.”
A separate incentive for younger Ohio residents will see five vaccinated 12- to 17-year-old students receive full four-year scholarships to attend Ohio public universities, including tuition, room, board, and books.
It comes as demand for COVID-19 vaccines in the state—and nationwide—has dwindled.
Companies have started offering incentives as part of an effort to encourage Americans to get vaccinated. For example, Krispy Kreme stores are offering one free glazed doughnut for people who show that they have had one or two shots of any COVID-19 vaccine.
The pace of COVID-19 vaccinations has declined in recent weeks, in part following an 11-day pause in administering the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot, as federal health authorities investigated reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.
The CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on April 24 recommended that the distribution of the vaccine continue but with warnings.