Health commissioners hopeful Vax-2-School will pay off

First there was Vax-A-Million. Now there’s Vax-2-School.

Health Commissioners in the Miami Valley are hoping that Gov. Mike DeWine’s latest vaccine incentive program brings more people into clinics to get the shot.

DeWine is giving away 150 $10,000 college scholarships to students aged 12 to 25. Another 5 $100,000 scholarships are up for grabs in the same age group.

The Ohio Department of Health has announced that in the first week, 58,520 people have signed up for the Vax-2-School drawings.

Gabe Jones, Health Commissioner, Champaign County Health District, said in an interview with WHIO-TV that he is optimistic that the new giveaway program will prompt more people to be vaccinated.

“We’re hoping that progress will continue, especially in Champaign County where our younger population numbers are not quite where we would like them to be. So, any positive signs are encouraging,” Jones said.

Drawings have not begun yet, allowing time for students aged 5 to 11 to become eligible for the vaccine.

They too will be able to sign up for the drawing once the US Food and Drug Administration opens the vaccine to their age group.

Registration for the drawings is available at ohiovax2school.com to anyone in the right age group, so long as they have received at least one dose of the vaccine. It does not matter when they received the shot, whether it was last week or months ago.

Health agencies are preparing now for clinics to distribute the vaccine to the 5- to 11-year-olds.

Dennis Propes, Health Commissioner of Miami County, hopes once the younger age group becomes eligible for the vaccine and they begin to make appointments to get the shot, older family members will come with them to become vaccinated.

“We’ve seen this before where people bring in a loved-one in for the shot and say, Oh while I’m here I might as well go ahead and get it,” Propes said.

In his most recent COVID briefing, DeWine said he hoped Vax-2-School drawings could begin within the next few weeks, but so far, no starting date for the drawings has been announced.