COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) — The first winners of Ohio’s Vax-a-Million drawing were announced Wednesday at 7:29 p.m.
Abbigail Bugenske, of Silverton, was the first $1 million winner in the Vax-a-Million contest.
Joseph Costello, of Englewood, won the four-year scholarship to an Ohio college of his choice.
In an effort to boost COVID-19 vaccination rates in the state, Ohio is giving away $1 million to five adults and full-ride college scholarships to five children who have received the vaccine.
The drawings are held on Mondays. In between, the state verified the eligibility of the two winners by checking residency and vaccination status.
Registration for the lottery started last week and the deadline to sign up for this week’s drawing was Sunday at 11:59 p.m.
There will be four more Vax-a-Million drawings. Those who registered for the first drawing will be automatically included in the next drawing. The deadline for the May 31 drawing is May 30.
If you missed the registration window for the first drawing, you can still sign up.
The Ohio Department of Health claims the Vax-a-Million is already responsible for a bump in vaccination rates. Vaccinations in ages 16 and older were up 28 percent from May 14 to May 7, which was the weekend following the vaccine lottery announcement.
The previous weekend it was down 25 percent, according to the state health department.
“This dramatic increase in vaccinations indicates that the Vax-a-Million drawing has been impactful in creating momentum for vaccinations throughout Ohio,” said Stephanie McCloud, director of the Ohio Department of Health, in a news release on Thursday.