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Ohio governor rolls out 'lottery' for vaccinated adults, offering $1M payouts

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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R)/(Justin Merriman/Getty Images)

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced Wednesday that the state will soon hold lottery drawings exclusively for vaccinated adults, and winners will take home $1 million each.

What are the details?

DeWine revealed the new plan during an address to his state, touting the progress Ohioans have made in the fight against COVID-19 and announcing that state government's coronavirus restrictions would end on June 2 — outside of nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

He then offered incentives for more people to get vaccinated against the virus.

"Two weeks from tonight on May 26th, we will announce a winner of a separate drawing for adults who have received at least their first dose of the vaccine," DeWine explained in a tweet. "This announcement will occur each Wednesday for five weeks, and the winner each Wednesday will receive $1 million dollars."

The Republican noted that the drawings would be conducted by the Ohio Lottery, sponsored by the Ohio Department of Health, and "the money will come from existing federal Coronavirus Relief funds."

"I know that some may say, 'DeWine, you're crazy! This million-dollar drawing idea of yours is a waste of money,'" he wrote in a later tweet. "But truly, the real waste at this point in the pandemic -- when the vaccine is readily available to anyone who wants it -- is a life lost to COVID-19."

The governor also announced that 12 to 17-year-olds who get vaccinated (now that Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine is approved for that age group) will be offered a lottery of their own, where winners "will receive a full, four-year scholarship at our State of Ohio universities," including "tuition, room and board, and books."

DeWine noted that 78% of Ohioans 65 and older have been vaccinated, and he is making a push for the rest of the population to get the shots.

"Our cases are down, but that's only because 42% of our population can no longer get the virus and can no longer spread it" due to vaccination, DeWine said, according to WOIO-TV.

How are people reacting?

The feedback on DeWine's lottery was mixed on social media.

Some people praised the scheme, with one tweeting, "This is genius. That 5 million dollar cost is much less than what the marketing cost would be to convince even half the amount of people to get a dose of the vaccine that a **very slim** chance at one million dollars would convince. Props to whoever thought of that."

Another wrote, "It's a crazy idea, but it will almost certainly get *a lot* of people who otherwise would not get the vaccine to do so. If it gets a few 100,000 extra people vaccinated, it will save the state a ton of money in the long run."

Others slammed the move. One person reacted, "So now we're using tax payers money to bribe parents into getting Covid shots for kids. Lol. DeWine has got to go. This guy is a clown. We have such terrible leadership at the highest levels in Ohio. @GovMikeDeWine role as Governor will terminated next election. Mark my words."

Someone else wrote, "What the hell is this, Mike? I mean, we're used to Republicans wasting our tax money, but I'm pretty sure a lottery wasn't part of the stimulus deal. A million dollars could be used so much better elsewhere. Does Washington know you're misappropriating our money?"

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