First Recipient of Ohio Vaccine Lottery Wins $1 Million

A stock image of the Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine.
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The state will be picking another $1 million winner a week for five weeks.

Ohio has announced its first winner of $1 million as part of the state’s “Vax-a-Million” lottery to raise vaccination percentages. A new winner will be awarded every Wednesday for five weeks. Each winner will have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Abbigail Bugenske from Silverton was announced as the first winner of the $1 million prize. 

The drawings are being held by the Ohio lottery and all residents over the age of 18 who have been vaccinated are eligible. The lottery is being funded by existing federal COVID-19 relief funds.

"I know that some may say, 'DeWine, you're crazy!  This million-dollar drawing idea of yours is a waste of money.'  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,” said Mayor Mike DeWine.

The state is also offering lottery scholarships for those vaccinated under the age of 18. A winner will also be announced once a week for five weeks.

"The winner will receive a full, four-year scholarship to our State of Ohio universities," DeWine tweeted. "This will include tuition, room and board, and books.”

Joseph Costello in Montgomery County was announced as the first winner of the scholarship lottery.

All COVID-related health orders, outside of those for nursing homes, in the state are expected to be lifted June 2, including social distancing. Businesses and schools will be able to enforce their own rules, however, DeWine said.

"We hope for a good summer, but we also have to be able to get through the dark days of winter safely. To do that, we need a much higher percentage of Ohioans to be vaccinated," DeWine said.

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