Five Ohio Residents to Get $1 Million Each Just for Getting Vaccinated in New Lottery

Walgreens staff prepare vaccines for Educational Staff at Kettering City Schools in Dayton, Ohio.

Walgreens staff prepare vaccines for Educational Staff at Kettering City Schools in Dayton, Ohio.
Photo: Megan Jelinger/AFP (Getty Images)

Five lucky people in Ohio will win $1 million each just for getting vaccinated for covid-19, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced on Wednesday. The new lottery, which starts handing out cash weekly on May 26, will be administered through the Ohio Department of Health as well as the Ohio Lottery and will be paid for with federal covid-19 relief funds, according to DeWine.

“Two weeks from tonight, on May 26, we will announce the winner of a separate drawing for adults, adults who have received at least their first dose of the vaccine,” Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said during a covid-19 update that was livestreamed on YouTube.

“This announcement will occur each Wednesday for five weeks, and the winner each Wednesday will receive one million dollars,” DeWine continued.

DeWine cited a number of different private companies that were offering incentives to get people vaccinated, like Kroger grocery stores which is currently offering employees $100 cash to get one of the three coronavirus vaccines that have been approved for use in the U.S.—Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer-BioNTech.

But obviously there’s a big difference between $100 and the chance at a million, something that DeWine clearly knows very well. DeWine went on to explain who would be keeping tabs on the new lottery and how it was going to be administered.

“The pool of names for the Ohio vaccine million drawing will be derived from the Ohio Secretary of State’s publicly available voter registration database. Further, we will make available a web page for people to sign up for the drawings if they are not in a database that we’re using,” DeWine said.

“The Ohio Department of Health would be the sponsoring agency for the drawings and the Ohio lottery will conduct them. The money will come from existing federal Corona coronavirus relief funds. To be eligible to win, you must be at least 18 years of age or older. On the day of the drawing, you must be an Ohio resident and you must be vaccinated before the drawing. We’ll have further specific details tomorrow and in the days ahead,” said DeWine.

DeWine also announced that kids between the ages of 12 and 17 who get vaccinated in Ohio with the newly approved Pfizer vaccine for their age group will be eligible to win a four-year scholarship to any state school in Ohio. Amazingly, that scholarship doesn’t just include tuition but also room and board, as well as books. An online portal for kids to register after they’ve been vaccinated will open on May 18.

DeWine acknowledged that people might think he’s not quite right in the head with this new idea, but he think it’s going to be a winner.

“Now, I know that some of you now are shaking your head and say that Mike DeWine, he’s 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, the covid-19,” said DeWine.

With an adult population of roughly 8.4 million people in Ohio, your chances of winning this new lottery aren’t great. But that’s never stopped people from playing the lottery before. And unlike state lotteries, you don’t have to spend a dime to enter. All you need to do is get vaccinated for covid-19, something that you should be doing anyway.

Roughly 36% of eligible adults in Ohio have been fully vaccinated, which is roughly on par with the national average of 35%. About 1.09 million residents of the state have contracted the disease since the pandemic began, and 19,441 have died.

If you live in Ohio, what do you have to lose? Nothing. Go get vaccinated and help end the covid-19 pandemic. It’s not just for your family and neighbors. The vaccines have all shown to have individual benefits, meaning that even if you’re unlucky enough to get the disease, you’re pretty much guaranteed to avoid serious illness or death. That’s an easy bet.