DeWine announces Vax-to-school scholarship vaccine incentive program

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has announced new vaccine incentives for younger Ohioans during a COVID-19 news conference.

>>Gov. DeWine, ODH concerned with growing number of younger Ohioans being hospitalized with COVID-19

Ohio Vax-to-School program was announced by the Governor and will be available for Ohioans ages 12 to 25 who have received their COVID-19 vaccinations.

The program will be similar to the state’s previous Vax-A-Million program. In the program, the state will give away five $100,000 scholarships and 50 $10,000 scholarships.

The Ohio Department of Health and Ohio Lottery will hold a press conference in the coming week with more details. “I think it’s got a good chance at working,” DeWine said.

The program will be funded by existing federal coronavirus pandemic funds, DeWine said.

The state first offered the Vax-A-Million program in the spring that helped push more COVID-19 vaccinations by offering a chance at a $1 million prize for Ohioans over 18 and free college tuition for those aged 12-17.

The following other announcements have been made:

  • Gov. Mike DeWine said since mid-August there have been 42,000 cases involving people ages 5 to 17. He added that the 27 days with the highest numbers of cases involving this age group since the pandemic began have come since schools started this year.
  • DeWine said he received a letter from the CEO of the Ohio Hospital Association, which includes 245 member hospitals and 15 health systems, where the organization was alerting DeWine “to the dire situation in our state and the increasing stress that Ohio’s hospitals are under in dealing with the rapid increase in COVID-19 patients.”
  • In mid-July, Ohio hospitals were treating 200 COVID-19 inpatients. Today that number is 3,702, according to the Ohio Hospital Association.
  • 40 percent of people on a ventilator in hospitals are being treated for COVID-19, according to DeWine.
  • DeWine said vaccination remains key to battling the COVID-19 pandemic. He said 73 percent of those ages 40 and above are vaccinated, but cautioned that the vaccination rates for those under that age group are much lower with under 50 percent in each age bracket.
  • DeWine said the Ohio Attorney general’s office will be working on prioritizing background checks and CDL licensing wait times to help provide relief for the need for additional bus drivers for schools to help due to COVID-19.
  • The Governor said 61 percent of the public schools in the state are wearing masks. On Sept. 1 that number was about 31 percent. Two districts in the state have transitioned to remote learning and those districts did not have a mask requirement, DeWine said.