Ohio administered more than 25,400 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine last Friday, the highest number in a day in three weeks, just two days after Gov. Mike DeWine announced a $5 million lottery.
"The governor remains optimistic about the early indicators," a spokesperson told NBC News. "The curve is now trending in the other direction as far as where we were heading. We hope that continues."
He added that "at the very least, this has accomplished the goal of raising awareness of the vaccine."
The governor tweeted last Wednesday: "Two weeks from tonight on May 26th, we will announce a winner of a separate drawing for adults who have received at least their first dose of the vaccine. This announcement will occur each Wednesday for five weeks, and the winner each Wednesday will receive one million dollars."
In total, about 5 million Ohio residents, or just over 40% of the state’s population, have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with a six percent increase among those age 30-74 after a steady decline previously. Ohio reported 729 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday.
Ohio Health Director Stephanie McCloud told NBC News that "Not only have we achieved our goal of increasing public awareness and interest, but we have slowed what was a consistent decline, and in certain age groups we're seeing an increase again. This is doing exactly what we intended it to do."
Melissa Wervey Arnold, CEO of the Ohio chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said that "We were really encouraged by those numbers. We have really struggled with that age range in the state of Ohio. I think it's wonderful that it gave people a second thought."
She added, "This is a nice incentive. It gave people an opportunity to think twice about getting it."
Ohio isn’t the only state to incentivize getting vaccinated. New York is offering free MetroCards, New Jersey free beer, and West Virginia savings bonds worth $100 to residents between the ages of 16 and 35.
"Our kids today probably don’t really realize just how important they are in shutting this thing down. I’m trying to come up with a way that’s truly going to motivate them — and us — to get over the hump," West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said on Monday in a press conference.
"If we can get to 70%, we’ll shut this virus down," he added. "If we do that, the masks go away, the hospitalizations go away, and the deaths become minimal."
Justice noted that younger people are "not taking vaccines as fast as we’d like them to take them," saying that "if we really want to move the needle, we’ve got to get our younger people vaccinated."
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