COLUMBUS, Ohio — In the first Ohio Vax-a-Million drawings, Abbigail Bugenske of Silverton won a $1 million cash prize and Joseph Costello of Englewood will be given a full-ride college scholarship, it was announced Wednesday.
It marked the first of five drawings that will be held on consecutive Wednesdays.
Roughly 2.75 million adults entered the Ohio Vax-a-Million cash drawing. Another 104,386 students between the ages of 12 and 17 entered the contest for five full-ride college scholarships.
The Ohio Lottery held the drawing Monday in Cleveland, and state officials have had two days to verify that the winner meets the eligibility rules and has had at least their first COVID-19 shot. The winners were announced Wednesday on live television.
Gov. Mike DeWine announced on May 12 that Ohio would use federal CARES Act money to fund five $1 million prizes and five full-ride college scholarships as a way to revive interest in the COVID-19 vaccinations.
DeWine said the program has exceeded his wildest expectations. DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health said the program prompted an uptick in vaccinations across nearly all age groups after weeks of trailing interest.
Other states and cities have expressed interest in using DeWine’s idea.