Ohio has continued to see an increase in vaccination rates across all age groups following the announcement of the Vax-a-Million program, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said this week.
Compared to rates from May 7 through May 12, vaccinations among those ages 16 and 17 increased 94 percent during May 14 to May 19, DeWine said. Across the same time frame, those ages 18 and 19 saw a 46 percent increase and those ages 20 to 49 saw a 55 percent increase.
The Vax-a-Million lottery program is aimed at increasing the number of Ohio residents who are vaccinated. Ohioans who have received at least one dose of the vaccine are eligible to win either up to $1 million for those over the age of 18 and a full-ride scholarship to an Ohio state university for those ages 12 to 17.
More than 2.7 million Ohioans have registered for the $1 million lottery drawing and more than 100,000 have registered for the youth drawing.
Despite the increased vaccinations, not everybody supports the lottery program. Ohio Rep. Jena Powell (R-80-Arcanum) introduced a bill earlier this week that would remove funding from the Vax-a-Million lottery.
House Bill 329, also called the Taxpayer Protection Against the Frivolous Vaccine Lottery Act, would redirect funding currently used for the lottery program into grants for relief for small businesses and for early childhood mental health.
“This lottery is a waste of taxpayer dollars, and we know the money could be better spent in a multitude of areas,” Powell said in a statement. “For Governor DeWine to say that any vaccinated Ohioan can potentially receive $1 million through a lottery is an insult to our hard-working constituents.”
It would also prohibit future lotteries. The bill has 29 cosponsors and is currently awaiting referral to a House committee.
“This incident is opening up the eyes of Ohioans to what many have known for years — the State of Ohio spends Ohio taxpayer dollars frivolously on needless pet projects every single year in the state budgets,” Powell said.
The first round of Vax-a-Million winners were announced on Wednesday evening.
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