Ohio Misses Vaccination Goal Despite Lottery Incentive

Written By Justin Russo on June 29, 2021 - Last Updated on November 29, 2022
Ohio hasn't reached its COVID-19 vaccination goal for residents despite a lottery incentive.

Ohio has not reached its goal of vaccinating half of its residents from the COVID-19 virus. The state created a vaccine lottery to incentivize residents to receive at least one dose.

The lottery was announced on May 12, and the state used its federal COVID-19 relief funds to award over $5 million to vaccinated residents over the past five weeks. Despite this, only 48% of Ohioans have received at least one shot at the end of the lottery.

The lottery did provide some relief, however. Since the announcement of the lottery, 565,000 Ohioans got their first dose of the vaccine.


The state’s lottery featured ten total prizes. Five prizes for both adults and children who received at least the first dose of the vaccine. The winners were announced each week for five weeks.

Ohio entered eligible adults into a lottery for a cash prize. The five winners each received $1 million.

Children ages 12-17 who got their shot were entered into a separate lottery. Those five winners received a full-ride scholarship to any Ohio public college or university.

Now that everyone has received their prizes, is Gov. Mike DeWine pleased with the outcome?


Despite the state not reaching its vaccination goal, Gov. DeWine believes that the lottery produced positive results for the state.

“The Vax-a-Million promotion was a resounding success for Ohio, with major increases in vaccinations in the first two weeks of the promotion,” said Governor DeWine. “The even better news is we have more Ohioans protected from COVID through the power of the vaccine. I continue to urge Ohioans to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their loved ones from this deadly virus.”

With Gov. DeWine praising the lottery’s effect in Ohio, other states took note and implemented their own versions.


While Ohio was the first state to introduce a vaccine lottery with large sums of money, several states have since followed in Ohio’s footsteps.

New York has a “Vax and Scratch” program where residents are given a free lottery ticket when vaccinated at participating sites. The one grand prize ticket is worth $5 million.

California is awarding ten vaccinated residents a prize of $1.5 million. Other winners receive “Golden State Getaways” which include trips Disneyland, surfing lessons, and tickets to sporting events. The state is awarding over $100 million in prizes altogether.

Other states with similar giveaways to Ohio include New Mexico, Oregon, Colorado, and West Virginia. Each of those states has awards totaling over $1 million.


Several of the states that have followed Ohio’s path are finding similar results. The lotteries provide initial boosts to vaccination numbers, but rates fall off after only one or two weeks.

Gov. DeWine recognized this trend in Ohio, saying that “Clearly the impact went down after that second week.”

Vaccination rates in Oregon and Colorado have decreased since their respective lotteries were announced. New Mexico’s rates jumped only slightly since announcing its lottery.

West Virginia failed to reach its goal of two-thirds of its residents receiving one shot, and currently sits at just 61%.


Ohio currently sits 23rd among US states for the percentage of vaccines administered at 85.6%.

Gov. DeWine continues to encourage residents to get the vaccine, but as of now there are no more incentives for residents to get vaccinated.

The state lifted most of its COVID health orders and its mask mandate on June 18. It is fully reopened except for nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

If COVID vaccination rates continue to fall the state may have to find another incentive to encourage residents to get their shots.

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Justin Russo

Now a freelance journalist, Justin Russo graduated from UNLV with a degree in journalism. He has covered both professional and collegiate sports in Las Vegas for UNLV's student-run radio station and newspaper, while also serving as a sports betting intern at ESPN.

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