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Ohio Is Giving Away $5 Million and Full College Scholarships for Getting the Covid Vaccine

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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced a new incentive to get young people vaccinated for Covid. The state will be awarding $1 million to vaccinated adults 18 and older each week for the next five weeks.

The money will come from the state's federal coronavirus relief fund, DeWine said in a tweet Wednesday.

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

The state's lottery system is conducting the raffle, using the Ohio Secretary of State's publicly available voter registration database to pool candidates. People can also sign up online to be part of the giveaway if they are not registered voters.

For teens ages 12 to 17, DeWine said the state has a separate lottery planned. The state will randomly award a "full, four-year scholarship" to attend state universities in Ohio each Wednesday for five weeks starting on May 26, he said. "This will include tuition, room and board, and books."

(On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration approved emergency use of Pfizer's Covid vaccine in kids ages 12 to 15. The vaccine was already approved for those 16 and older.)

Other states have similar cash incentives and awards given for vaccinations: In April, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said the state would give $100 savings bonds to those ages 16 to 35 who get vaccinated.

New York City is offering free and discounted tickets to the NYC Aquarium, Brooklyn Botanical Garden, Bronx Zoo and other outdoor attractions for those who get vaccinated. And in New Jersey, residents 21 and older who get vaccinated in May can receive a free beer from participating breweries.

In Ohio, 42% of the total population has had at least one shot of Covid vaccine, according to data from the Ohio Department of Health, including 6% of the population ages 19 and under.

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