Ohio tackles COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy with $1m lottery incentive

Government officials in Ohio have a new plan that may increase the COVID-19 vaccination rate in the state: get vaccinated and you'll have a shot at getting a $1 million reward. The new incentive was announced today by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, who said that every week for five weeks, an adult who was vaccinated in the state will be rewarded with $1 million.

The COVID-19 vaccine is widely available to adults in the United States, and in many places getting one is as simple as a walk-in appointment at a local pharmacy. Despite this, many people remain unvaccinated for various reasons, including everything from conspiracy theories about safety to a general ambivalence about one's own personal risk of contracting the virus.

Ohio has had open COVID-19 vaccine appointments for anyone who wants one since late March. According to the CDC's COVID-19 vaccine data tracker, nearly 42-percent of people in Ohio have received at least the first vaccine dose.

The new COVID-19 vaccine lottery aims to increase this number by awarding a total of five people with $1 million each. The lottery will be open to adults who received at least one vaccine dose in the state, with the winners announced each Wednesday for five weeks. Governor DeWine's office has dubbed this the 'Ohio Vax-a-Million' initiative, noting that the first winner will be selected on May 26.

Winners will be selected from the state's voter registration database, meaning you'll need to be registered to vote if you want a shot at the money. Meanwhile, the state is also promising five full-ride scholarships for teens aged 12 to 17 who can sign up for inclusion starting May 18.