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Ohio COVID-19 Vaccinations Increasing After Vax-A-Million Lottery Announced

A nurse prepares a Moderna vaccination at a Columbus vaccine clinic.
Dan Konik
Ohio Public Radio
A nurse prepares a Moderna vaccination at a Columbus vaccine clinic.

Hundreds of thousands of Ohioans have already signed up for the Vax-A-Million lottery giveaway after the web portal and phone line opened on Tuesday, according to state officials.

What is not clear is if those signing up are the newly vaccinated who were encouraged by incentives from the state.

Anyone age 18 and up can sign up for the drawing, and kids age 12 to 17 can enter to win full-ride scholarships to Ohio's public universities.

The drawings will take place each Wednesday starting May 26 for five consecutive Wednesdays.

A look at the state’s COVID-19 vaccination numberson Friday, two days after the million-dollar lottery was announced, shows more than 30,000 new vaccinations, the highest number recorded in several weeks, Ohio Department of Health (ODH) officials said.

Preliminary data also show high numbers were recorded in the following days, according to the state’s online vaccination tracker.

On Sunday, the state reported more than 7,000 new vaccinations, the highest number reported on a Sunday over the past four weeks.

The numbers continued to rise Monday, with more than 17,000 people getting the shot. That’s also the highest number reported on a Monday in four weeks, officials said.

Vaccinations are increasing in every age group except those 80 and older, said ODH spokesperson Alicia Shoults.

“That group is decreasing at a less rapid pace, demonstrating some positive impact even in that group,” Shoults told ideastream via email.

Gov. Mike DeWine announced the Vax-A-Million giveaway May 12 as an incentive for people to receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines, ahead of the state lifting all pandemic-related health orders June 2.

Registration opened Tuesday, and hundreds of thousands of people have entered the million-dollar drawing online thus far, Ohio lottery and health officials said in a release.

Staff members fielded more than 60,000 calls on the first day of registration, according to the release, and the Vax-A-Million website had more than 25 million pageviews on Tuesday.

Officials recommend people refresh the webpage, clear their cache or use a different web browser if experiencing issues signing up.

Lottery officials will announce the exact number of entries next week, due to security reasons, according to the release.

Copyright 2021 90.3 WCPN ideastream. To see more, visit 90.3 WCPN ideastream.

Anna joined ideastream in 2019, where she reports on health news for WCPN and WVIZ in Cleveland. She has also served as an associate producer for NewsDepth. Before that, Anna was a 2019 Carnegie-Knight News21 fellow at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism.