DeWine says he’s considering more COVID-19 vaccine incentives as hospitalizations rise


COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday he is currently considering more COVID-19 vaccine incentives as hospitalization rates continue to rise in the state.

“Yes, we’re thinking about it, I can’t tell you [everything] today, but we’re thinking about it,” DeWine said during a press conference. “We’re looking at these numbers and they simply have to go up. Everybody that gets vaccinated is not only doing something for themselves, but they’re doing something for everyone else. We’re thinking of other options.”

Earlier this year, the governor implemented the Vax-a-Million lottery incentive, which offered five sets of $1 million for adults and five sets of full ride Ohio college scholarships for teens, to encourage people to get vaccinated across the state.

“It worked exceedingly well for about 14 days, just a phenomenal increase and we got that and that’s important,” DeWine said today of the somewhat controversial incentive.

A study out of Boston University’s School of Medicine suggested that overall, the Vax-a-Million did not increase the state’s vaccination rate. But the governor’s office disputed this claim back in July.

“The first week after Vax-a-million, we saw a 44 percent increase in Ohioans 16 and older getting the vaccine. According to the Washington Post, no other state saw an increase along those lines. We saw a 17 percent increase in those 16 and older in the second week,” DeWine spokesperson Dan Tierney told FOX 8 over the summer.

The governor has been touting the potential for more state-offered vaccine incentives since the Vax-a-Million drawing ended. A $100 vaccine incentive was offered to Ohio employees who got the vaccine this summer, with at least 900 people reportedly taking advantage. But no other large prize incentives have come to fruition for the state as a whole.

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