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13 May, 2021 02:36

‘Vax-a-Million’: Ohio Governor DeWine to use federal Covid-19 relief to FUND LOTTERIES for vaccine recipients

‘Vax-a-Million’: Ohio Governor DeWine to use federal Covid-19 relief to FUND LOTTERIES for vaccine recipients

Just in case touting “safe and effective” isn't enough, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is offering residents a new incentive to get their Covid-19 vaccine shots – chances to win $1 million or a college scholarship in special lotteries.

The ‘Ohio Vax-a-Million’ lottery draws will be held for five straight Wednesdays, starting on May 26, and each will award $1 million to an adult resident who has received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose, DeWine announced on Wednesday. Separate lotteries for children aged 12-17 who have been vaccinated also will be held, offering them a chance to win a four-year scholarship to any state university in Ohio, including tuition, books, room and board.

The kicker is that DeWine will pay for the giveaways with some of Ohio's federal Covid-19 relief funds. He announced the lotteries on the same day that he said Ohio's statewide mask mandate and most other pandemic restrictions will end on June 2.

“I know that some will say, 'DeWine, you're crazy. This $1 million drawing idea of yours is a waste of money,'” the governor said 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.”

The lottery campaign comes as states look for ways to sway hesitant residents to get inoculated after working through the early stages of the vaccine rollout, when demand outstripped supplies and jabs were limited to the elderly and other priority groups. President Joe Biden met with a group of governors on Tuesday to discuss innovative ways that various states are incentivizing their residents to get vaccinated, such as free fishing licenses and gift cards.

Also on rt.com Biden urges parents to get children vaccinated after CDC backs Pfizer jab for kids as young as 12

More than 36% of Ohioans, or 4.2 million people, have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, ranking the state around the middle of the pack nationwide at 24th, according to CDC data. About 58% of Ohio adults have received at least one dose. Biden aims to have 70% of American adults inoculated with one or more vaccine doses by July 4.

Ohio's Covid-19 hospitalizations have plunged 75% since the vaccine rollout began in December. New virus cases in nursing homes have dropped from more than 2,800 per week to fewer than 200 per week.

Such progress made it possible to end most Covid-19 restrictions, including a statewide mask order, on June 2. “There comes a time when individual responsibility simply must take over,” DeWine said.

It's “vitally important” to start vaccinating children against Covid-19, given that they account for about one-quarter of new cases in some areas, the governor said. With decisions this week by the FDA and CDC authorizing use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in children as young as 12, those jabs can begin.

“Now, everyone 12 and over can use it to protect themselves – to put an invisible shield of protection around themselves,” DeWine said of the vaccines. “Everyone can now control their own health. Everyone can now control their own destiny.”

Also on rt.com New Orleans offers free CRAWFISH to people who get first shot of Covid-19 vaccine

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