One million dollars.
A full ride college scholarship.
Ages 12 and up.
Those are key takeaways from Governor Mike DeWine’s Wednesday prime time address. A mere 90 minutes after Ohio legislators filed a concurrent resolution to rescind the health mandates, DeWine took to the television and streaming airwaves to announce that “Ohioans have done their job. It’s time to lift the mandates.”
June 2 is the date when Ohio’s COVID related health orders will be lifted (with the exception of nursing homes). As with other states, individual Ohio businesses will maintain the ability to set their own regulations, but Ohio’s statewide orders will be gone.
Why wait until June 2? According to Governor DeWine, that is so more Ohioans have the opportunity to get at least the first dose of a COVID shot. Currently, 42% of Ohioians have taken the shot.
While the grand finale financial prize announcements connected to those shots were yet to be announced, DeWine spent much of his address touting the value of the vaccine. “Everyone can now control their own health. Everyone can now control their own destiny,” he stated. “Each person has access to a mighty weapon. The vaccinated feel liberated and vaccination is safer than running the risk of getting the virus. You can hug your family again. You can go to a restaurant again.”
And starting Thursday, May 13, DeWine says Ohioans ages 12 and up be able to enjoy those freedoms as well. With the recent Emergency Authorization Use approval for the Pfizer vaccine, individuals ages 12 and up can now schedule an appointment, which DeWine says will start in Ohio right away. Appointments will open Thursday, less than 24 hours after his address.
“The way we’re really going to control the pandemic is to vaccinate a higher number of individuals including children. While it generally is a milder illness, [some of these kids can get very sick]” DeWine read those remarks from Dr. Sherman Alter, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Dayton Children’s Hospital.
The Final Announcement
*Shots for 12-15 year olds
*Lifted health orders effective June 2
Those announcements, plus the news that cases continue to fall, led up to the final announcement of the night: a lottery system intended to make 5 Ohioans millionaires.
After calling on businesses across Ohio to increase incentives for vaccinations, DeWine announced that the state of Ohio had an incentive of its own. Starting May 26, one adult winner will be drawn each Wednesday for five weeks straight. Each winner receives $1 million dollars. Touted the “Vax-a-Million” drawing, the winners will be derived from the Ohio Secretary of State’s publicly available voter registration database. Those not in the voting database will still be eligible by registering at a yet to be announced website.
And not to forget those under 18, DeWine also announced an incentive prize drawing for individuals age 12-17 who choose to receive the COVID shot. On the same night that the first $1 million dollar prize winner is announced, a vaccinated minor will receive a full ride scholarship to any university in the state of Ohio. This prize drawing will take place for 5 weeks, with 5 randomly drawn minors receiving full ride college scholarships. Registration for this lottery opens May 18.
Response to Governor DeWine’s address was swift on social media, with many applauding the decision to lift restrictions, others criticizing the 3 week delay for such. Perhaps surprising to DeWine was the growing group questioning the monetary prize awards. DeWine says the prize money will be paid through federal coronavirus funds.