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Ohio University has announced a series of scholarships and awards for vaccinated students, as the state prepares to relaunch its multi-million dollar lottery program to increase immunization coverage.

Fully vaccinated students who enroll in the college’s ‘vaccination route’ program, which exempts them from having to take a weekly asymptomatic Covid-19 test, will be eligible for weekly sweepstakes by mid-August Ohio University said in a statement. Wednesday.

Two weekly winners for the next four weeks can choose between $ 500 scholarships or other prizes such as a fall campus photoshoot, a VIP ride in the homecoming parade, or a ‘dinner with a celebrity’. Ohio University to be announced soon ”. (University alumni include Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson, MacGyver star Richard Dean Anderson, and businessman Robert Walter, who was instrumental in founding Cardinal Health.)

The grand prize, to be drawn in the fifth week, is a scholarship for the fall semester 2021.

The announcement comes a day after Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said the state planned to announce a new vaccination incentive program within the next week.

DeWine provided few details at a Tuesday afternoon press conference, but hinted that the lottery could include smaller amounts of money to give more people a chance to win, local media reported. .

While some states had started offering beer or baseball tickets, Ohio in May became the first to announce a vaccine lottery offering $ 1 million in cash prizes and full college scholarships to students. previously or newly vaccinated residents. California and New Mexico were among those who followed Ohio’s lead. West Virginia did too, but also promised guns as a prize.

The Republican governor said on Tuesday he was concerned about the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19 and parts of Ohio that have low vaccination rates. The highly transmissible strain of the virus, which was first identified in India, is causing an increase in cases in communities in states like Missouri, Arkansas and Mississippi which have low coverage vaccine.

When DeWine announced the first lottery in mid-May, Ohio had vaccinated about 37% of its population, compared to about 35% for the national average. Two months later, 45.6% of residents are fully immunized, which is 2.6 percentage points below coverage for the entire United States and places Ohio in the bottom half of the states.

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