Ohio vaccine lottery: Are Governor DeWine’s incentives making more people get a COVID shot?


SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WJW) — Get a COVID-19 vaccine, win a million dollars!

That is the incentive from Governor Mike Dewine for all vaccinated Ohioans over the age of 18.

For Those age 12-to-17 who are vaccinated the state will start having drawings in two weeks for a full scholarship to any of Ohio’s state universities.

The incentives are intended to entice those who are procrastinating or who are on the fence about getting a vaccination to consider getting theirs.

But as of Friday, there does not seem to be an overwhelming response.

With fewer than 50-percent of its residents vaccinated and the numbers of people who are signing up to get their COVID-19 vaccines dropping the Summit County Health Department is using creative ways to make it easier for people who want one to get a vaccine.

“You know the folks that wanted a vaccine went out and got a vaccine now there’s a group of individuals that won’t make an effort to get it so that’s where the strategy comes in to go to them,” said Summit County Health Commissioner Donna Skoda on Friday.

That includes a series of community clinics and pop ups and events and work sites in order to capture some of those individuals that would get it but it has to be easy to get.

The county opening one of those community clinic at Springfield High School on Friday between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. where FOX 8 wanted to find out if the governor’s incentives influenced anyone’s decision to get their shots.

“I’m sorry they didn’t,” said Natalie Kendall.

“Absolutely not, we were planning on getting it anyway. My daughter was planning on getting it and I had mine a couple of weeks ago,” said Katie Cooper.

“Not really my major reason why I’m out here today just cherry on top, icing on the cake,” said Teresa Dye.

FOX 8 News found others who were not even aware of the drawing at all.

The county’s health commissioner says there is no evidence that the governor’s incentives have resulted in a measurable increase of anyone getting their vaccinations since they were announced on Wednesday.

“Certainly, the million dollars has sort of put a fun spin to it you know who is going to win a million to get a vaccine.  I think though there is a whole lot of people that would have been happy to get a vaccine for a thousand bucks or two thousand dollars or so maybe just another payment to get a shot I’m not opposed to it if that’s what it takes,” said Skoda.

In Lorain County, the incentives might be responsible for a bit of an increase in people signing up for vaccines over the last couple of days.

“Right after Pfizer announced that it was able to vaccinate people 12 and over since then we have had about 150 people kids of that age group sign up. Half of those were done prior to the governor’s announcement and then we had a couple of days of none and when the governor made the announcement the other half came in,” said Lorain County Health Commissioner David Covell.

“I think there has been some other incentives that have been done. You know the Cleveland Indians have had half price tickets and you remember the NFL draft if you were vaccinated you could get up close to the stage and so there has been some positive reinforcement to get people vaccinated which has really resulted in some people doing it,” said Covell.

Among FOX 8 viewers responding to the incentives on Facebook the response has been overwhelmingly negative.

But Governor DeWine defends the use of the federal COVID relief money.

“The real waste at this point in the pandemic when the vaccine is readily available to anyone who wants it. The real waste is a life that is lost now to COVID-19,” said the governor on Wednesday.

For area health commissioners the only thing that matters is that people consider getting vaccinated and they feel the best incentive is good, factual information.

“I think first of all it has to start with good information and I think a lot of people make that decision based on mis information,” said Skoda.

“On a good year 50-percent of the population gets a flu shot. Many people equate this to the flu, and they think it’s just like a flu and they think it will be gone and it will never be back and from all indications that isn’t the case,” she added.

“There were some concerns early on that it was made quickly and is it going to be safe, well now we have had over 100-million people in this country get the vaccine we know it is a safe and effective vaccine,” said Covell.

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