DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The Ohio Department of Health said the upcoming Vax-a-Million lottery is already paying dividends. In just one week, the vaccination rate among Ohioans 16 and older is up by more than 28 percent.
In addition to the state’s increase in younger Ohioans, local health departments say they’re experiencing an increase in overall vaccinations as well. They believe the lottery is a reason for the surge but allowing younger residents the opportunity to receive their shot has helped as well.
“The pace has picked up considerably since last Wednesday when two things happened, the governor’s announcement of Vax-a-Million and the approval to vaccinate 12- to 15-year-olds,” said Clark County Health Commissioner Charles Patterson.
Clark County Combined Health District (CCCHD) said they’ve seen a 50 percent increase in vaccinations across the board ever since the lottery announcement. Additionally, over 400 12- to 15-year-olds have received their first dose over the past week. Officials are expecting the surge to continue.
“Well we think we’re going to get bumped every time they announce a winner of the next month and we hope it will continue to drive people to get their vaccines,” said Patterson.
Miami County officially moved to a “Level 2 Public Emergency,” or yellow, the lowest possible on the scale and is averaging less than 50 cases per 100,000 residents. They start vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds this weekend and said they expect residents to take advantage of the opportunity.
“We moved to yellow and I double checked on ODH’s website to see exactly where they have us,” said Vickey Knisley-Henry, public information officer for Miami County Public Health. “We are averaging around 42 to 46 cases per 100,000 residents and that’s so exciting.”
Other health leaders speculate there will always be a percentage of Ohioans who will never get vaccinated.
“It’s very difficult to convince people what they believe is false, especially if it’s rooted outside a scientific fact that can’t be disputed,” said Dr. Roberto Colon, chief medical officer with Miami Valley Hospital. “We’re not going to be able to get through them, so the goal is to make that group as small as possible.”
Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County said they’re seeing an increase in vaccinations among 12- to 15-year-olds as well.