DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The Ohio Department of Health reports as of June 22, state COVID-19 case numbers are at 349. However, the Vax-a-Million lottery is wrapping up, medical experts are concerned that those numbers could go back up if people aren’t influenced by a scholarship or chance to win a million dollars.
Data also shows that when Ohio’s Vax-a-Million Lottery began May 18, vaccination rates were just over 43% for all Ohioans. Now, five weeks later, the number is up nearly 5%.
“It’s tremendously gratifying considering where we were six, seven months ago, where things looked very very different. We had at least a large number of people dying almost on a daily basis,” said Dr. Roberto Colon, chief medical officer at Miami Valley Hospital.
Colon says he does give some credit to lower case numbers and heightened vaccine rollout to the Vax-a-Million lottery. “Any incentives like this do have the effect of bringing another group of people to really go ahead and move. Either they’d been on the fence or they just hadn’t gone and done it.”
The Vax-a-Million lottery’s final drawing has nearly 3.5 million adults registered for the million dollar prize, and over 154,000 Ohioans between 12 and 17 registered for the scholarship.
“It’s a good idea that we can do everything we can to get people vaccinated. Right now it’s really about time and access,” said Dan Suffoletto, public information supervisor for Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County.
Colon is also cautioning the public that we could see a spike in COVID-19 cases or pause in case progress once the lottery comes to an end. “We have really been able to squash the disease down, but if we let off and we don’t keep the campaign for immunization, we’re going to be setting ourselves up for another resurgence in the fall.”
Governor Mike DeWine has also said that once The Vax-a-Million lottery comes to an end, there will be more incentives for vaccinations in Ohio within the coming weeks.