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Ohio announces winner of first vaccination lottery

image copyrightMike DeWine

image captionOhio Governor Mike DeWine and Joseph Costello (centre), who won a college scholarship

The US state of Ohio has announced the winners of its first lottery draw for Covid-19 vaccine recipients.

Abbigail Bugenske, from a Cincinnati suburb, has scooped the Midwestern state’s first $1m (¬£700,000) Vax-a-Million prize.

A teenager, Joseph Costello of the Dayton area, won the first college scholarship offered under the same incentive scheme.

The initiative was launched this month to boost flagging take-up of the shots.

Four more $1m and college scholarship winners will be announced each Wednesday for the next four weeks under the programme.

A shot for a shot at $1m

By Caché McClay, BBC News

This Covid-19 lottery heard around the world has rejuvenated the vaccination initiative around my native state. Many local news media outlets and radio stations have reminded residents to get their shots and register for the lottery.

The online sign-up was easy and took less than one minute. There was also a call-in option to make the lottery more accessible to residents.

More than 2.7 million signed up to win the $1m prize and over 100,000 young residents registered for the full four-year scholarship to one of Ohio’s state universities.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, a Republican, launched the special lottery on 12 May and credits it with reinvigorating roll-out of the jabs.

His office said in a statement: “From May 14 through May 19 as compared to May 7 through May 12, vaccinations in Ohio increased 94% among those 16 and 17 years old, 46% among those 18 and 19 years old, and 55% among those between 20 and 49 years old.”

While the Biden administration has praised the initiative, not everyone in the state approves. The Ohio statehouse’s top Democratic legislator, Emilia Strong Sykes, called it “a grave misuse of money that could be going to respond to this ongoing crisis”.

Nevertheless, the vaccination incentive lottery has spread to New York, Maryland, Oregon and Colorado.

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

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