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Covid vaccine: Ohio lottery offers residents shot at $1m

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image captionDemand for Covid-19 vaccines have been falling across the US in recent weeks

The US state of Ohio will award cash prizes of $1m (£710,000) to five recipients of Covid-19 vaccines as part of a lottery launched to boost flagging up-take of jabs.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said only adult residents who had had a vaccine would be eligible for the draw.

The first of five weekly drawings will be announced on 26 May, Mr DeWine said.

He said the lottery would be paid for by coronavirus relief funds from the federal government.

A world leader in Covid-19 vaccinations, the US has given 58.7% of its adult population jabs against the disease.

A successful vaccination programme was crucial to curbing the pandemic in the US, which has recorded more than 32 million infections in total – the highest figure in the world.

President Joe Biden has set his administration the goal of vaccinating 70% of adults by 4 July – American Independence Day.

However, for weeks now, the number of vaccines administered has been in decline nationwide. Health officials have attributed this to hesitancy among some Americans.

To convince the undecided, eye-catching giveaways – including beer, donuts, tickets to sporting events and cash prizes – are being offered in different parts of the country.

“I know that some may say, ‘DeWine, you’re crazy!’,” Mr DeWine wrote in a tweet, announcing the Ohio lottery. “‘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.”

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. This announcement will occur each Wednesday for five weeks, and the winner each Wednesday will receive one million dollars.

— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) May 12, 2021

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

The state is also offering a lottery for vaccinated residents under the age of 18. Instead of $1m, though, they could win a full four-year scholarship to one of Ohio’s state universities.

The pool of names entered into the lottery will be drawn from the state’s voter registration database, Mr DeWine said.

Last week, Mr Biden said his administration was working to win over “doubters” about vaccines. Part of that plan involves vaccinating children as young as 12.

FDA Commissioner Dr Janet Woodcock said the move was aimed at “bringing us close to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic”.

media captionHow is the race to vaccinate looking around the world?

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