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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine introduced the state’s newest millionaire and full-ride college scholarship winner Thursday.

They’re the final winners of the state’s Vax-a-Million contest.

Since the program was announced, 550,675 people have received at least their first shot of the coronavirus vaccine, according to data from the Ohio Department of Health.

Gov. DeWine has billed the program a success. It ran for about 5 and a half weeks.

“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.”

The governor says more incentives could be coming but was not prepared to announce anything just yet.

“Stay tuned,” he said.

Wednesday night’s $1 million winner is Esperanza Diaz from Cincinnati.

“I couldn’t sleep last night,” Diaz said Thursday. “I was too excited.”

She says before the drawing she was praying for the prize.

“God, let it be me, let it be me, and here I am,” she said.

Esperanza says she plans to pay bills and help her family.

Northeast Ohio claimed another winner with the scholarship prize.

13-year-old Sydney Daum, from Brecksville, got a surprise visit from the governor Wednesday evening.

Thursday, Sydney joined her parents from school. She said she didn’t want to miss out on a special camp.

“It was a shock,” Sydney’s mom told the governor.

Sydney was vaccinated on May 22, shortly after the program was announced.

The governor says currently 100 people in Ohio are dying of COVID every week.

He says the age group has shifted for those who are dying. He says right now people ages 40 to 79 make up the majority of those deaths.

“Our cases are going down, but the virus is still here,” Governor DeWine said.

He says the state is working with schools to get more districts to hold vaccination clinics.

He says they’ll also be coordinating with summer food programs.


  • “It’s been a great success,” Gov. DeWine says of Vax-a-Million
  • “I couldn’t sleep last night,” Esperanza Diaz said in Thursday’s press conference
  • “God, let it be me, let it be me, and here I am,” she said.
  • “I couldn’t sleep, I was too excited.”
  • Pay bills and help my family Esperanza said of her plans for the money
  • Sydney from Brecksville who won the scholarship called into the press conference from school because she didn’t want to miss a special camp
  • Sydney’s parents Jennifer and Jeremy joined her at the school for the call
  • Sydney was vaccinated shortly after the program was announced on May 22
  • “It was a shock,” mom Jennifer told the governor
  • Sydney is involved with synchronized swimming, which she has done for about three years
  • The state is doing outreach with schools for more districts to hold vaccinations on site
  • DeWine says about 200 schools will be doing so
  • The state is also coordinating vaccine clinics at summer food service programs
  • “Our numbers are good. Our cases are going down, but the virus is still here,” the governor said.
  • The governor says 100 people in Ohio are dying every week of COVID
  • Governor says people aged 40-79 make up the majority of deaths in Ohio currently
  • The governor says they’re looking at options for different incentives and to “stay tuned”
  • The governor says he’s considering options for more small prizes