Covid-19 vaccine: Woman wins $1 million in first Ohio Vax-a-Million lottery
Ohio governor offers chance at $1 million prize to get vaccinated.
On Wednesday, Ohio awarded $1 million to Abbigail Bugenske, a Silverton woman who entered the state's Vax-a-Million drawing.
Joseph Costello, a high school student from Inglewood, won a full-ride scholarship, including tuition, books and room and board at an Ohio public university or college.
The 22-year-old was driving to her family’s home in suburban Cleveland when she received a call about the good news — from Governor Mike DeWine.
A few minutes later Bugenske was in her parents’ house screaming so loudly they thought she was crying, according to media reports.
“A whirlwind,” Bugenske said Thursday morning during a news conference. “It absolutely has not processed yet. I am still digesting it — and I like to say that it feels like this is happening to a different person. I cannot believe it.”
Bugenske is a mechanical engineer working for GE Aviation in suburban Cincinnati, and has no plans to quit her job. She grew up in Shaker Heights near Cleveland and is a 2020 graduate of Michigan State University. She said she plans to donate to charities but then invest most of it.
As US political leaders grow increasingly desperate to persuade Americans to get the coronavirus vaccine, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on Wednesday topped offers of baseball tickets and beer with a $1 million prize drawing.
DeWine, a Republican, said five Ohio residents would win the money in once-a-week drawings for adults who have received at least one dose of the now-plentiful vaccines. The funds will come from federal pandemic relief funds.
"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 on Twitter. "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."
Roughly 117 million Americans, more than one-third of the U.S. population, had been fully inoculated as of Wednesday, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
The pace of vaccinations has slowed in recent weeks due to ambivalence or skepticism about the medication and declining infections. The number of Americans seeking vaccinations has dropped by a third in recent weeks, according to the CDC.
Last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the Mets and Yankees baseball clubs would hand out free tickets to fans who got inoculated at their parks before games.
Many US states were expected this week to begin inoculating children aged 12 to 15 with the vaccine manufactured by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE after a CDC panel approved the plan earlier on Wednesday.
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