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Vaccinated in Ohio? You could win a college scholarship or even $1 million

There are now a million more reasons for Ohioans to get a coronavirus vaccine.

Gov. Mike DeWine announced five $1 million drawings and separate youth drawings for full college scholarships as incentives getting the vaccine Wednesday during his fourth primetime speech on the state’s COVID-19 progress.

The drawings will start in two weeks, on May 26, and be held on Wednesdays for five weeks.

Each week one person will win $1 million. Winners must be at least 18 on the day of the drawing, an Ohio resident and have received at least their first dose of the vaccine, DeWine said.

“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 — the real waste is a life that is lost now to COVID-19.”

A similar drawing for those ages 12 to 17 who have been vaccinated will be for a full, four-year scholarship to state of Ohio universities.

“This will include tuition, room and board and books,” DeWine said.

An electronic portal will open Tuesday for young people who have been vaccinated to register for the drawing.

The pool for the “Ohio Vax-a-Million” drawing will come from the Ohio Secretary of State’s voter registration database. Also, a webpage will be created for people to sign up who are not registered to vote, the governor said.

The Ohio Department of Health is sponsoring the scholarships, which will be conducted by the Ohio Lottery and paid for with existing federal COVID relief funds.

DeWine said more details about the drawings would be released Thursday.

The announcement comes as children 12 and older are able to receive the Pfizer vaccine starting Thursday. The Food and Drug Administration authorized the vaccine Monday for children as young as 12, and on Wednesday the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued its recommendations.

By Jen Balduf

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