Ohioans can opt in to the Ohio Department of Health’s vaccine lottery starting Tuesday, department head Stephanie McCloud announced Monday morning. Anyone who hopes to win the sweepstakes, which will award $1 million each to five vaccinated people in the state, must register online or over the phone to be eligible for a prize.
Gov. Mike DeWine announced the project on May 12 but provided few details; at the time, it was unclear whether all vaccine recipients in the state would be automatically entered or be required to enter themselves. The opt-in system sidesteps privacy concerns by requiring entrants to voluntarily give the state permission to investigate their vaccine status, McCloud said.
The Ohio Vax-a-Million lottery site had been set up with the help of the Ohio Lottery Commission by the time McCloud spoke on Monday, although it won’t open to registrants until 8 a.m. Tuesday.
Registrants can also sign up over the phone at 1-833-427-5634.
To register, you must be:
- An Ohio resident
- McCloud said the threshold for residency used in the contest will be the same one used for voter registration and acquiring an Ohio driver's license.
- At least 18 years old
- Vaccinated with at least one shot by the time of the week’s drawing
Hopefuls only need to register once, McCloud added. Winners’ names will be removed from the statewide pool after each drawing, but non-winners' names will go right back in.
“This is a bold initiative and we are so proud to bring it to Ohioans to hopefully turn the tide on COVID,” McCloud said.
The first drawing will take place May 24; after two days, during which the state will verify the winner’s vaccine status, the winner’s name will be announced May 26.