DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN)– Governor Mike DeWine’s Vax-2-School initiative, to get young people vaccinated against COVID-19, starts tomorrow. 12-to-25 year olds can enter with a chance to win thousands of dollars in scholarship funds. 

Since his first announcement, DeWine has doubled the scholarship winnings to $2-million, which will result in a total of 155 vaccinated winners. However, local families shared very different thoughts on the push. 

“I don’t think it should be mandated that they get the shot, that’s the parents’ decision if they do or not,” said Centerville Resident Teresa Kasper. “It’s just like anything else, it’s a choice.”

Opinions stayed strong as the news of Governor DeWine’s push to get younger people vaccinated spread through the state. While some parents we talked with said they appreciate an incentive to get the vaccine, they don’t want it to go further than that. DeWine’s latest vaccine incentive kicks off this week, this time aimed at the young people of Ohio between the ages 12-to-25 years olds. Vax-2-School will have 150 $10,000 scholarships and five grand prize winners of $100,000.

13-year-old Centerville Student Angel Johnson says she will not get vaccinated to enter the scholarship drawing for personal reasons.

“No I don’t think I do, it’s just really new and I don’t know the side effects, and I’ve known people who have died due to side effects,” said Johnson. “I know it’s very rare but it’s still scary.” 

Centerville Highschool Student and Forte A Cappella Member Danielle Macconnell says she will be entering the drawing. She chose to get vaccinated after experiencing the pandemic first hand, with her father in the medical community.

“March 2020 when covid first hit this area, my dad would come home into the garage, change his clothes and not be around my family out of caution,” said Macconnell. “People still need to realize covid is real but thankfully there is a solution, getting vaccinated can really help.”

Some health leaders believe kids will be kids. They say 12-to-25 year olds have been the hardest age group to encourage to get vaccinated, so the scholarship incentive may change some minds.

“We won’t have 80-percent of that age group go out and get a shot just because we have an incentive,” said Premier Health Regional Medical Director Dr. Joseph Allen. “Even if it’s just 8-to-10 percent, if it changes that much, it could have  a huge impact on the covid fight in general.”
Beginning Monday, October 4th, Ohioans 12-to-25 years old can enter online at www.ohiovax2school.com or by phone at 1-833-427-5634. The Ohio Department of Health will be using a portion of its Coronavirus Relief Funds to fund this incentive.