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Ohio governor announces vaccinated residents will be eligible to win $1 million

Governor Mike DeWine.Andrew Welsh Huggins/Associated Press

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Wednesday that the state will give away $1 million to a lucky vaccinated Ohioan each week for five weeks as part of a bid to push the state’s COVID-19 vaccination rate higher.

DeWine said that any Ohio adult who has received at least one dose of the vaccine is eligible to win the money. The first drawing will take place on May 26, and a new winner will be drawn each Wednesday after that for the duration of the contest.

The state plans to pay for the contest with COVID-19 relief funds from the federal government.


“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 -- is a life lost to COVID-19,” DeWine said in a tweet announcing the campaign.

Ohio ranks below the national average in vaccinations, with 42 percent of the population having received at least one shot, according to a New York Times analysis. By comparison, Massachusetts is one of the top states in the country at delivering vaccinations, with about 60 percent of the state at least partially vaccinated. DeWine was one of six governors, including Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, who met with President Biden yesterday to talk about ways to increase vaccinations.

As demand for the COVID vaccine slows, states and municipalities are increasingly turning to creative ways to boost vaccination rates.

Maine Governor Janet Mills on Tuesday announced the state is launching an incentive program that offers vaccinated residents a free fishing or hunting license, L.L. Bean gift card, tickets to a Portland Sea Dogs game, or a race event at the Oxford Plains Speedway.

Earlier this month, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced that any resident who gets their first vaccine dose in May can get a free beer if they take their vaccination card to a participating brewery, dubbing it the “Shot and a Beer” program.


Amanda Kaufman of the Globe staff contributed.

Christina Prignano can be reached at Follow her @cprignano.