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Ohio has seen an increase in Covid-19 vaccinations after the state announced residents who received their first jab could win one of five $1m prizes.
On Friday, two days after the lottery was announced, was the highest vaccination day in the state in three weeks, state health officials said on Monday.
More than 25,400 shots were administered on Friday and vaccinations for residents ages 30 to 74 increased by 6% after weeks of steady decline, officials said.
It is too early to know whether the lottery drove the increase in vaccinations, but state health officials are encouraged by the increase.
“Not only have we achieved our goal of increasing public awareness and interest, but we have slowed what was a consistent decline, and in certain age groups we’re seeing an increase again,” the state health director, Stephanie McCloud, said on Monday.
Ohio’s governor, Mike DeWine, a Republican, credited the increase in vaccinations to the lottery and to the expanded age eligibility for the Pfizer vaccine, which last week was authorized for children 12 to 15 years old.
DeWine unveiled the “Vax-a-million” plan last Wednesday. The lottery opened on Tuesday and people who have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine can enter through a phone hotline or online.
Residents 18 and older can enter in the draw for one of five $1m prizes. Ohioans ages 12 to 17 who have received at least one dose of the vaccine can enter the lottery to win one of five scholarships to cover the cost of going to a college or university in the state for four years. The state is using federal funds for vaccine outreach to support the initiative.
The first winner will be announced on 26 May. The following winners are set to be announced each subsequent Wednesday until 23 June.
The $1m prizes are the largest, but not only, incentive states are providing to encourage vaccinations.
In New Jersey, residents 21 and older can get a free beer after receiving their first vaccination. In Alabama, residents who received a vaccine or Covid-19 test were able to take a free drive on the famed Talladega Superspeedway this past weekend. Maine residents who get their first shot of the vaccine before the end of May can choose from several outdoor-themed prizes including fishing or hunting licenses or day passes to state parks.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Ohio hits highest vaccination rate in weeks after offering $1m lottery prize | Ohio