COLUMBUS – Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Bruce Vanderhoff, MD, MBA, and Ohio Lottery Commission Director Pat McDonald provided an update Friday on the Ohio Vax-2-School program, announcing that the prize money has been doubled to a total of $2 million in scholarships.
Beginning Monday, Oct. 4, Ohioans aged 12-25 can enter online at www.ohiovax2school.com or by phone at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634) to win one of 150, $10,000 scholarships, or one of five, $100,000 grand prize scholarships. The scholarships, awarded in Ohio 529 College Advantage plans, can be used at the Ohio college, university, technical/trade school, or career program of the winner’s choice. The Ohio Department of Health is using a portion of its Coronavirus Relief Funds to fund this innovative public outreach campaign and initiative.
In addition, the state hopes to expand the age group to include younger Ohioans.
“We are hearing promising news following the clinical trial and safety data submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by Pfizer for their COVID-19 vaccine for 5 to 11-year-olds,” explained Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff. “In anticipation of a COVID-19 vaccine being authorized for children as young as 5 in the near future, we have decided to broaden the Ohio Vax-2-School program to include this age group, should they become eligible for vaccines.”
Ohio Vax-2-School is an opt-in program, meaning that you must enter to be eligible for the prize drawings. Any Ohioan in the eligible age group, currently 12-25, with possible expansion from 5-25, can choose to enter, and are encouraged only to enter after having received at least one dose of the vaccine. Individuals who entered, but did not win, Ohio’s Vax-A-Million drawings are eligible, but they must enter the Ohio Vax-2-School program, as entries do not carry over from Ohio Vax-a-Million. There is no required time frame for which past vaccinations must have occurred.
“We had great success with Vax-a-Million, and we’re excited to assist the Department of Health again with this new initiative to help encourage younger Ohioans to get vaccinated,” Ohio Lottery Director Pat McDonald said.
“We are hopeful that the $2 million in scholarship prizes will provide an incentive, much like Vax-a-Million did, to help speed up the vaccination timeline for Ohioans,” explained Dr. Vanderhoff. “As you will recall, in the first week after Ohio Vax-A-Million was announced, there was a 44% increase compared to the base in vaccination rates for those 16 and older, and a 15% boost the following week. For all ages, there was a 106% increase compared to the base in the first week, and a 53% increase the second week.”
A deadline to enter and drawing dates have not yet been announced. The Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Lottery Commission will share those details in the weeks ahead, allowing as much time as possible for an emergency use authorization (EUA) to be granted for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for those ages 5-11.