DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The first winners of Ohio’s Vax-a-Million lottery will be drawn Monday and announced Wednesday, spurring a massive increase in vaccinations among younger Ohioans, including a 94% jump in 16- to 17-year-olds getting the shot.
Governor Mike DeWine and other health leaders believe it will make a huge impact this summer as restrictions continue to loosen.
Over 2,758,470 Ohioans have registered for the $1 million drawing, although the state’s coronavirus dashboard shows over 5 million Ohioans are eligible to enter. Since the lottery announcement, vaccinations among 18- to 19-year-olds has increased 46% and 20- to 49-year-olds increased by 55%. Health leaders believe Ohio is in a good position to lift health orders come June 2.
“We talk about loosening restrictions, that doesn’t mean abandoning them,” said Dr. Roberto Colon, chief medical officer at Miami Valley Hospital. “We still are going to have those situations when it’s smart and safe to use a mask and social distance, when necessary, to keep each other safe.”
The biggest local impact is being felt in Miami County, it’s among the “Top 10,” having seen its vaccination rate increase 129% since the lottery’s announcement. Just one week ago, Miami County moved to the lowest Public Emergency Level and is averaging less than 50 cases per 100,000 residents. They attribute their success to the community working together.
“Open dialogue is what’s really needed, there’s just a lot of good and not so good information out there,” said Vicky Knisley-Henry, public information officer for Miami County Public Health. “I think people who haven’t gotten their vaccine yet and are on the fence should have that dialogue, don’t be afraid to ask because people who have gotten it will share their story.”
The state is currently averaging around 90 cases per 100,000 residents but health leaders say they are confident that we will be close to averaging 50 cases per 100,000 residents next week when health orders are lifted.