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Five vaccinated citizens of Ohio will win $ 1 million each, through a new lottery announced on Wednesday, in one of the biggest financial incentives announced by a state to combat low demand for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Beginning May 26, the state will award $ 1 million a week to an adult who has received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, said Governor Mike DeWine. There will be five winners without a total.

“I know that some may say, ‘DeWine, you are crazy! This idea of ​​yours drawing a million dollars is a waste of money,” the governor said during a speech on Wednesday. “But really, the real waste at this point in the pandemic – when the vaccine is readily available to anyone who wants it – is a life lost to COVID-19.”

The state will take names from the Ohio Secretary of State’s publicly available voter registration database. People can also sign up through an online portal. Winners must be Ohio residents, be at least 18 years of age on the day of the draw and be vaccinated prior to the draw.

The sweepstakes will be conducted by the Ohio lottery, with money from COVID-19’s existing federal aid funds, the governor said.

The state will also hold a weekly lottery starting May 26 for younger people who have obtained the COVID-19 vaccine. Five winners will receive a full four-year scholarship to an Ohio State university, which includes tuition, pensions and books, announced DeWine.

Students can sign up for an online portal starting May 18. Children as young as 12 can now be vaccinated after the Food and Drug Administration authorized the Pfizer vaccine for those 12 to 15 years old this week.

More than 4.8 million people aged 18 and over in Ohio – 53.4% ​​of that population – received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Across the country, 58.7% of people aged 18 and over received at least one dose.

The awards are among the biggest incentives ever offered by states to encourage residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19. In the past few weeks, states and cities have been seducing people with free beer, pizza, train tickets and scholarship money.

These incentives could be the “carrot” that people need to get vaccinated, experts say, as demand for vaccines drops across the country. Vaccination numbers have dropped from an average of more than 3 million daily doses given a month ago to less than 2 million, according to data from the CDC.

Ohio’s announcement comes when the state also plans to end all COVID-19 health orders on June 2 – including on mask and social distance requirements and capacity restrictions – except in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

“This will give anyone who has not been vaccinated time to get the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine or the first dose from Pfizer or Moderna, and be well on their way to full immunity,” said DeWine on Wednesday.

“Now, lifting these orders does not mean that the virus has disappeared.” This does not mean that we are all safe, “he said.” Each Ohio citizen will make their own decisions about wearing a mask and social detachment – and when, for them, this is appropriate. “