Ohio reveals the first winners in its $1 million lottery for people who get vaccinated against COVID-19

powerball lottery lotto balls numbers
  • Ohio announced the first two winners of its coronavirus vaccine lottery on Wednesday.
  • One adult will receive $1 million, and one student will get a full scholarship for college.
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One Ohio resident is now $1 million richer after the state on Wednesday announced the first winners of its coronavirus vaccine lottery.

Abbigail Bugenske of Silverton, near Cincinnati, was the first winner announced in the “Vax-a-Million” initiative earlier this month to encourage more people to get vaccinated.

The state also awarded a college scholarship to Joseph Costello from Englewood, near Dayton.

Both were chosen by a random number generator on Monday, WLWT reported, and will need to provide proof they were vaccinated.

On Monday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, said more than 2.7 million residents had entered the lottery, which is only open to those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine.

The state is giving away a total of $5 million, along with five full-ride scholarships to any state college or university, room-and-board included.

The next winners will be announced June 2.

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Ohio administered the most vaccines in weeks 2 days after it announced a $1 million vaccine lottery

Ohio vaccine
An Ohio resident receives a COVID-19 vaccine in March 2021.

  • Ohio vaccinated more people in a single day than in three weeks after announcing a major incentive.
  • Gov. Mike DeWine on May 12 said five vaccinated residents would win a $1 million lottery prize.
  • US states have offered incentives to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations and reach herd immunity.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Ohio recorded more than 25,000 new vaccinations last Friday, a number not seen in three weeks. It came two days after the state announced a major incentive: the potential for five vaccinated residents to win $1 million.

According to state data, Ohio administered more than 25,400 COVID-19 vaccines on May 14 – two days after Gov. Mike DeWine announced the program during a televised address the evening of May 12. It was the highest number of shots the state had administered in three weeks, when residents received 28,000 shots on April 23.

The program comes at a time when states across the US have scrambled to incentivize vaccinations as interest in them has plateaued. Experts predict the country will need to vaccinate at least 70% of the population to reach herd immunity for COVID-19.

In total, more than 124 million people in the US are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19 – about 38% of the total population. And 60% of adults have received at least one dose, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

DeWine’s announcement drew ire from some in and outside his own Republican Party, who questioned the use of millions in pandemic relief funds, local CBS affiliate WHIO reported.

“I know that some may say, ‘DeWine, you’re crazy!” DeWine said in a tweet last week announcing the “Vax-a-Million” program. “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.”

People in Connecticut who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 can get a free drink at participating restaurants. The state of Kentucky partnered with Walmart and Kroger to give every vaccinated adult a lottery ticket, which carries a top prize of $225,000. And New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced that vaccinated people could get a free beer after they had been vaccinated with his “shot and a beer” campaign.

According to data analyzed by Johns Hopkins University, about 35% of Ohio residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The state with the highest percentage of fully vaccinated people is Connecticut, with more than 44%.

The first Ohio drawing winner will be announced on May 26. The other four winners will be announced on the four Wednesdays that follow. If a 12- to 17-year-old wins the drawing, they’ll get a full-ride scholarship to any Ohio state university.

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Someone in Michigan purchased a Mega Millions ticket worth $1 billion

mega millions
A Mega Millions lottery ticket,

Someone in Michigan bought the winning ticket for the $1 billion Mega Millions jackpot, which was the third-largest lottery prize in U.S. history.

The winning numbers for Friday night’s drawing were 4, 26, 42, 50 and 60, with a Mega Ball of 24. The winning ticket was purchased at a Kroger store in the Detroit suburb of Novi, the Michigan Lottery said.

“Someone in Michigan woke up to life-changing news this morning, and Kroger Michigan congratulates the newest Michigan multimillionaire,” said Rachel Hurst, a regional spokeswoman for the grocery chain. She declined to comment further.

Read more: The first thing lottery winners purchased after hitting the jackpot 

The Mega Millions top prize had been growing since Sept. 15, when a winning ticket was sold in Wisconsin. The lottery’s next estimated jackpot is $20 million.

Friday night’s drawing came just two days after a ticket sold in Maryland matched all six numbers drawn and won a $731.1 million Powerball jackpot.

Only two lottery prizes in the U.S. have been larger than Friday’s jackpot. Three tickets for a $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot were sold in January 2016, and one winning ticket sold for a $1.537 billion Mega Millions jackpot in October 2018.

The jackpot figures refer to amounts if a winner opts for an annuity, paid in 30 annual installments. Most winners choose a cash prize, which for the Mega Millions estimated jackpot would be $739.6 million before taxes.

In Grosse Ile, a suburb south of Detroit, 126 people bought more than 600 tickets for the Friday drawing but didn’t win the jackpot. They hoped to win enough money to replace a publicly owned bridge on their island in the Detroit River that has been closed indefinitely for major repairs. The only other transportation option for the island’s 10,000 residents is a privately owned toll bridge.

“We used this to lift our spirits and dream a little bit,” said organizer Kyle de Beausset. “Of course we’re open to any help with the bridge, but I can’t imagine the winner would want to finance it.”

The odds of winning a Mega Millions jackpot were incredibly steep, at one in 302.5 million.

The game is played in 45 states as well as Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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