‘I Cannot Believe It:’ 1st Ohio Vaccine Lottery Winners Speak After Being Selected – CBS Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 2021-05-28 02:40:36 –

Columbus, Ohio (AP) — Good news when the first winner of Ohio’s first $ 1 million Vax-a-Million Vaccination Encouragement Award was driving to her family’s home on the outskirts of Cleveland. Received a call from Governor Mike DeWine.

A few minutes later, Abigail Bugensuke was at her parents’ house and yelled, thinking she was crying.

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“A whirlwind,” 22-year-old Bugensuke said at a press conference Thursday morning. “It’s definitely not processed yet. I’m still digesting it — and I want to say that this feels like it’s happening to another person. I can’t believe it.”

Bugenske is a mechanical engineer working at GE Aviation in the suburbs of Cincinnati and has no plans to quit his job. She grew up in Shaker Heights near Cleveland and graduated from Michigan State University in 2020. She said she plans to donate to charity, but will invest most of it.

When she heard the word, she said she was on her way to Cleveland to see a used car, adding, “I think buying a used car is still in my future.”

The winner of the full college scholarship was Joseph Costello, an eighth grader at Inglewood near Dayton.

“I’m very excited,” said Costello, who sat between his parents Colleen and Rich at a virtual press conference. It’s a long way to go, but Joseph said he’s thinking about Ohio or Miami, Ohio for college.

Colleen Costello said she received a call from the governor when she quit her job on Wednesday. She initially thought this was a recording, but realized it was DeWine herself.

“I was really grateful that there was a bench nearby because I had to sit down,” she said.

DeWine visited the Costello family directly with his wife, Fran DeWine, on Wednesday after the announcement. He said he didn’t know the winner’s name until just before calling.

“It’s great to call someone and tell them that you’ve made a million dollars. It’s fun to call your family and tell them that you’ve been paid a four-year scholarship,” said the governor. ..

Bugenske said he received the Moderna vaccine as soon as he qualified, long before the lottery was announced. Costellos said they have already been vaccinated and plan to vaccinate their children by the end of the month, but with the announcement of the lottery, these appointments have been raised.

During a scheduled visit to Cleveland on Thursday, President Joe Biden said: Who says you pay millions of dollars to get the vaccine? But it’s working. “

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More than 2.7 million adults applied for a $ 1 million prize, and more than 104,000 children aged 12 to 17 participated in a college scholarship draw, including tuition, room, food and books. For the next four weeks, every Wednesday, four more $ 1 million and college scholarship winners will be announced.

Republican DeWine announced on May 12 a program to increase late immunization rates.

The Ohio Lottery used a random number generator to draw the first lottery at the Cleveland Lottery Studio on Monday afternoon, pre-selecting the winners and confirming the final winner’s eligibility.

Participants must register to participate by phone or via the Vax-a-Million website. Teens can register themselves, but parents or legal guardians must verify their eligibility. The names of the participants who did not win will be carried over weekly.

The deadline for new registration is just before midnight on Sunday.

“I know some people might say,’DeWine, you’re crazy!'” This million-dollar idea of ​​your painting is a waste of money, “said the governor when he announced the incentive. But now that the vaccine is readily available, the real waste is “the life lost in COVID-19,” the governor said.

This concept seemed to work, at least at first. According to an Associated Press analysis, the number of people over the age of 16 in Ohio who received the first COVID-19 vaccine surged 33% in the week after the state announced a $ 1 million incentive lottery.

However, in the same review, vaccination rates are still well below the numbers at the beginning of April and March.

As of Monday, at least 5.2 million people in Ohio, or about 45% of the state, had begun the vaccination process. About 4.6 million people, or 39% of the state, are vaccinated. Nationwide, more than 165 million Americans have initiated the vaccination process. This is about 50% of the population. Over 131 million people are fully vaccinated, close to 40%.

Vax-a-Million is open to permanent residents of Ohio who have received either a single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine or a double dose of Pfizer or the first part of Moderna vaccination.

DeWine’s proposal has influenced similar vaccine incentive lottery tickets in Colorado, Maryland, New York, and Oregon.

In Colorado, Democratic Governor Jared Polis says he will hold a weekly lottery on Tuesday to earn $ 1 million for five residents to encourage COVID-19 vaccination. Colorado has secured a $ 5 million Federal Coronavirus Relief Fund to be used to advertise vaccines so that each of the five inhabitants can earn $ 1 million.

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(Copyright 2021 The Associated Press.All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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