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Coronavirus

Ohio's First $1 Million Vaccine Lottery Winner Announced

Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine (left) and Gov. Mike DeWine (second from left) with the first scholarship winner Joseph Costello (center) of Englewood after the winners of the first Vax-A-Million drawing was announced Wednesday night.
Office of Gov. Mike DeWine
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Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine (left) and Gov. Mike DeWine (second from left) with the first scholarship winner Joseph Costello (center) of Englewood after the winners of the first Vax-A-Million drawing was announced Wednesday night.

The state says a southwestern Ohio woman is the first winner of Ohio’s $1 million Vax-a-Million vaccination incentive prize. The state also says a Dayton-area teen is the first winner of the program’s full-ride college scholarship.

Abbigail Bugenske from Silverton in Hamilton County is the first winner of the million-dollar sweepstakes. The winner of the full-ride scholarship is Joseph Costello from Englewood in Montgomery County. Their names were drawn on Monday, but announced live on TV just before 7:30pm Wednesday.

Gov. Mike DeWine tweeted out that he dropped by to see the eighth-grader from the Dayton area to congratulate his family in person. Those

In the two weeks since announcing the vaccine lottery, 261,742 more people have received the COVID-19 shot. That's a 26% increase in vaccinations compared to the two weeks leading up to the announcement. And more than 2.7 million people have entered their names into the drawing.

DeWine says he wanted the "Ohio Vax-A-Million" lottery to create new incentive for people to get the vaccine, and that it's surpassed his expectations.

Meanwhile, there's a push to stop the lottery through a bill in the Ohio House and a lawsuit filed in the Ohio Supreme Court by an anti-vaccination group.

But the sweepstakes is set to continue for the next four weeks. Those who have entered the contest already are eligible for those future drawings.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.