(WKBN) – For weeks, Ohio’s “Vax-a-Million” lottery captured everyone’s attention, waiting to see who would win the million-dollar drawings or the college scholarships, but did it really meet its goal of getting more people vaccinated?
When Ohio’s “Vax-a-Million” drawings were first announced in May, there was a surge in people registering to get their shots, but it didn’t last.
Despite the offering of lotteries and encouragement from the governor and even the White House, less than half of Ohio’s eligible population has received that first dose of vaccine. The corresponding number in Pennsylvania is over 60%.
As of Sunday, figures for Mahoning County are close to 47%, Trumbull is around 44% and Columbiana is less than 38% — all below Ohio’s statewide number. By comparison, Mercer County tops 47% and Lawrence is a point behind.
“I wish we had more, certainly. I certainly wish we had more than the 50% that we have now,” said Dr. James Kravec of Mercy Health.
Kravec thinks there’s been a leveling-off on interest in vaccinations for now.
“I do think when there’s a full approval as far as FDA, I think we’re gonna see a new bucket of people that will go for the vaccine,” he said.
In the meantime, the DeWine Administration is defending “Vax-a-Million” against claims that it did little, if anything, to boost Ohio’s numbers toward President Joe Biden’s goal of 70%.
The Governor’s Press Secretary Dan Tierney says critics were using the state’s entire population, including children who are not old enough to be vaccinated.
“I know the White House uses the 70% number for ‘adults.’ We’re in the high 50s in that, so we still have a ways to go by either metric,” Tierney said.
As for those still not vaccinated, Tierney had this to say:
“We’re not ready to announce anything yet, but that’s something we’re gonna continue to look at.”
For now, Kravec insists the best way to stop the virus from spreading is to get a shot.