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Lawmaker Thinks Vax-A-Million Database Is Subject To Open Records Law

Vax-A-Million Logo
Ohio Lottery Commission
State Of Ohio

More than 2.7 million Ohioans have signed up for the state’s Vax-A-Million drawings. However, there are questions as to whether information Ohioans gave to be eligible for that drawing could be subject to public records laws.

Normally, government records involving health information of individuals is not subject to public records laws. But some Ohio lawmakers, like Sen Andrew Brenner (R-Delaware) think, by waiving rights to health information, the Ohioans who registered for the Vax-A-Million drawing have essentially created a public database.

“I believe it’s public record and I believe all 2.7 million who signed their name voluntarily to the database so that we, as the public, can look them up and see them," Brenner said.

Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud said she does not believe the Vax-A-Million data is subject to public record requests. But she said if lawmakers think it is, they should insert language into the state budget that would make certain that information is kept private.

Over the course of five weeks, five COVID-19 vaccinated adults could win $1 million dollars and five vaccinated minors could win full-rides to Ohio colleges through the Vax-A-Million lottery.

The first of five drawings was held on Wednesday night, with Abbigail Bugenske from Silverton in Hamilton County winning the million-dollar sweepstakes. The winner of the full-ride scholarship was Joseph Costello from Englewood in Montgomery County.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.