Ohioans who have begun their COVID-19 vaccination process must opt in to be eligible for the state’s vaccine lottery.

Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud made the announcement May 17, which is a change from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s original plan of using the Ohio Secretary of State’s publicly available voter registration database.

“Using the opt-in questionnaire will allow ODH to verify the eligibility and vaccination of participants much more quickly,” McCloud said. “In the opt-in we’re asking participants to provide contact information that for the secretary of state may be optional for voter registration.”

Residents will be able to enter their name into the Vax-A-Million lottery either at or by calling the Ohio Department of Health at 833-4-ASK-ODH beginning at 8 a.m. May 18.

McCloud added the opt-in program will allow verification to happen within 48 hours.

Five residents over the age of 18 will be eligible to win $1 million and five Ohioans between the ages of 12 and 17 will be eligible to receive a full-ride scholarship to any Ohio state college or university.

To be eligible, participants must be Ohio residents and have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the time of the lottery. Winners could be asked to verify their vaccination status and provide their vaccine card.

The Ohio Lottery will conduct the $1 million and scholarship drawings beginning May 24 and will have one drawing a week for five weeks. The last drawing will be on June 21.

Winners will be announced on Wednesdays beginning May 26 and conclude June 23. Deadlines for the drawings are the Sunday before the Monday drawing.

Each person who enters the contest will be assigned a number. The drawings will then be conducted by a random number generator, said Pat McDonald, director of the Ohio Lottery.

Winners will be contacted by state officials after the winning number is generated. Their names will be announced publicly on Wednesdays.

A total of 4,981,525 Ohioans (42.62% of the state's population) have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 4,375,448 Ohioans (37.43%) completed the vaccination process as of May 16.

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