Announcing a boost in prize money to boost COVID-19 vaccination rates was the order of day Friday for Ohio’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff.
Vanderhoff said that’s the value of scholarships that will soon be up for grabs. The $2 million figure includes 150 scholarships valued at $10,000 and five valued at $100,000.
Young people 12 to 25 who’ve either been vaccinated against COVID-19 or have started the process will be eligible to win.
“The 155 winners of the Vax2School (scholarships) will be able to use their scholarships for education at an Ohio college, university, technical or trade school or career program of their choice,” Vanderhoff said.
“We’re announcing that Ohio Vax2School will double the prizes from the $1 million announced by Gov. DeWine to $2 million in total prizes,” Vanderhoff said.
Eighteen-year-old UC student John Parks falls squarely in that camp.
“I’ve heard about it, but I did not know too much about it. And I didn’t know they were expanding it,” Parks said.
Parks also learned that Vanderhoff is concerned because fewer than half of Ohioans 12 to 25 have started the vaccination process. Parks thinks the scholarship incentives will send that figure higher. “I think that will go up because people want the money, obviously,” he said. “So I think that’s a good incentive for people.”
Vanderhoff hopes the pool of people eligible to win will expand, too. If the Food and Drug Administration approves a vaccine for kids 5 to 11, this age group will be added to the list of potential scholarship winners. “I really am anticipating that this will happen in the not-too-distant future,” Vanderhoff said. “This is an important group of Ohioans, an important age bracket for us to include in this effort.”
The date prizes will be drawn remains unclear. Vanderhoff said he wants to wait to see what the FDA decides when it comes to a vaccine for small children. In the meantime, young people 12 to 25 can start registering to win Monday on the OhioVax2School website.