DeWine’s Vax-a-million is smart. Ending mask mandates isn’t.

OhioVaxamillion graphicOhio made international news with out of the box thinking by a Republican Governor who has shown that he takes public health seriously. It may be Governor Mike DeWine’s ticket to re-election and the highest vaccination rates in the Midwest.

For nay-sayers who say this vaccination lottery is a waste of tax money, there are a ton of wastes of tax money- mostly involving allowing each county to have as many as 30 or more local jurisdictions/banana republics like Lebanon Ohio, population 20,642, exist.

The mayor of Lebanon and two city council members say Gov. Mike DeWine’s plan to award $1 million to five vaccinated Ohioans through a lottery is “using our tax dollars in this way is definitely unethical and likely criminal.”

Lebanon Mayor Amy Brewer, Vice Mayor Mark Messer and Councilman Doug Shope made the allegations in a letter to DeWine sent Thursday.

The letter urged DeWine to “reconsider this decision, and allow those dollars to be used as rightfully intended – For The People.”

The letter said the three council members were expressing their collective “outrage” at DeWine’s recent decision to use tax dollars to fund a vaccine lottery.

Source: Lebanon mayor, 2 councilmen call ‘vax-a-million’ program ‘unethical and likely criminal’

The cost of the insane number of jurisdictions, duplication of government services, elections, websites, is a real evil. $5M spent on a lottery to get people to vaccinate is chump change. The state has spent a lot more in advertising over the last year to get us to socially distance, wear a mask and in providing increased unemployment benefits, and when I say a lot more- I mean exponentially more than $5M.

The cost of the coronavirus pandemic is staggering- both in dollars and lives. The damage to small businesses, to educational progress, to the health of Ohioans can’t even begin to have a dollar figure attached to it. What DeWine has done is use a stunt to draw attention to a desperate need- and earned media coverage and awareness instead of spending millions on advertising. I run an ad agency- and fully understand the power of a big idea, be it “Where’s the beef” for Wendy’s or attaching the value of “safety” to the Volvo brand, or the motivational tagline of “Just do it” to a pair of sneakers. Apple knew the power of a tagline when they asked us to “Think different” and relaunched a company on the verge of bankruptcy back to prominence with the i-line- first an iMac, then an iPhone and an iPad.

I’m not saying the DeWine folks are brilliant (they didn’t see the value of a campaign to build awareness of a Covid safety sweepstakes for minorities based on “Don’t bet your life” with a grand prize of a pre-paid funeral). But at least this idea has talk value. The fact that it’s rankled people proves it.

The administration was smart to leave voter registration rolls out of it. DeWine may have actually gotten more D’s registered. Now, starting Tuesday May 18 – us vaccinated Ohio residents can go to and register to win, or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily. By asking people to opt-in, your odds just got a hell of a lot better to win a million bucks if you are a permanent Ohio resident who’s been vaccinated.

The prizes- Ohioans 18 and older who have received a received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine can enter to win one of five $1 million prizes. Ohioans ages 12-17 who have received a received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine can enter to win one of five four-year, full-ride scholarships, including room and board, tuition, and books, to any Ohio state college or university.

Here’s the official requirements:

  • Must be a living citizen of the United States and a permanent resident of the State of Ohio.
  • Must be at least 12 years of age.
  • Must not be incarcerated (in prison or jail) for a felony conviction under the laws of this state, another state, or the United States.
  • Must not be an employee or Officer of the Ohio Lottery Commission, the Ohio Department of Health or the Ohio Governor’s Office, or any blood relative or spouse of such an employee or officer living as a member of the employee’s or officer’s household.
  • Must have received at least the first COVID-19 vaccination if receiving the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose if receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, prior to the drawing date.

All the details- including the college prize for those under 18 are found at the OhioVaxAMillion site.

I’ve always said the lottery was a tax on stupid people. This lottery is doing it’s best to be a reward for smart folks. Way to go Mike DeWine.


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