Ohio ending most COVID health orders June 2, offering cash giveaway for vaccinated

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 5:51 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVG) - While announcing a massive push to get the state’s residents vaccinated against COVID-19, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Wednesday that the state will end most of its COVID-related health orders on June 2.

Along with opening up Pfizer vaccinations to young people in the 12-15 age range Thursday, Ohio will be giving away cash prizes and other awards for those that get vaccinated.

The governor said the move was possible because of Ohio’s ongoing vaccination efforts, with nearly 42 percent of residents receiving at least one dose of the vaccine as of Wednesday. It’s a reversal from his previous goal to lift health orders of 50 cases per 100,000 residents for two weeks.

DeWine stressed that lifting the health orders does not mean that the virus is gone, adding that each citizen and business can make their own decisions about masks and social distancing, as well as schools.

“Everyone can now control their own health,” DeWine said. “Everyone can now control their own destiny. So it is time. It’s time to end the health orders. "

Starting May 26, a drawing will be held for a $1 million prize, once a week, for a total of five winners. The state will use federal coronavirus relief money to fund the “Vax-A-Million” lottery.

The governor said it’s anything but a waste of money.

“But truly, the real waste at this point in the pandemic, when the vaccine is readily available to anyone who wants it, the real waste is a life that is lost now to COVID-19,” DeWine said.

Ohio will use the Secretary of State’s voter registration database for the pool of names. You can also enter the drawing online, but that website isn’t available yet.

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