Ohio Gov. DeWine defends vaccine lottery idea

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(WJW) — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine offered more insight Thursday into why he’s offering million-dollar incentives to get the coronavirus vaccine.

Appearing on CBS This Morning, DeWine said he’s been thinking every day of what he could do to increase the number of people who will get the vaccination. He said he thought the idea of a drawing might “persuade” some to do it. DeWine said no one has tried this drawing idea and he thought it was a worth a shot. “We know this virus is still very much out there in Ohio.. the variant is out there,” he said.


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The governor said getting people to get the shot now as opposed to a month or two from now will help slow down the virus even more and save lives.

Here’s how the vaccine drawing will work, as explained by Gov. DeWine on Wednesday night:

DeWine announced two separate drawings for kids 12 to 17 and adults 18 and up, offering some pretty impressive incentives.

The state is now offering those young people who are vaccinated a chance to win a full-ride scholarship to any state school of their choice, including room and board and books.

Kids can get signed up for the drawing starting May 18 on an electronic portal. The plan is to announce a winner for the scholarships for five Wednesdays in a row, starting May 26. Each student is going to be picked at random.

Adults, on the other hand, have the chance, also starting May 26 and running for five weeks each Wednesday, to win $1 million for getting at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

DeWine is receiving some criticism over his lottery idea as the money will come from federal COVID dollars. “This is money we got to fight the virus. There is nothing more potent at this time to fight the virus … than the vaccine. Everyone we can get vaccinated fights the virus better.” DeWine said he knew he would be criticized by some who would think it’s a waste of money.


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Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost released the following statement to the FOX 8 I-Team in response to DeWine’s idea:

“Like many of you, I first learned about this idea yesterday. At first blush, the concept does not appear to violate state law, though that will be dependent upon how it is designed.  We will continue to review as additional details are made public.

Just because a thing may be legally done does not mean it should be done.  The wisdom and propriety of this expenditure is a question for the Governor and the General Assembly.”

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