Fayette County Public Health will be offering COVID-19 vaccines this Thursday in Bloomingburg. As more individuals are vaccinated, warnings have been shared to be aware of potential scams involving the Ohio Vax-A-Million.
Fayette County Public Health will offer first dose Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations for individuals 18 or older who choose to receive the vaccine on Thursday, May 27, at the Bloomingburg Town Hall during the free food distribution from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. noon.
Individuals do not have to be picking up food to get the vaccine, and they do not have to get the vaccine to receive food. This is a walk-in clinic, no appointment is necessary. Anyone with questions is welcome to call 740-335-5910 or visit www.faycohd.org for more information.
The Ohio Department of Health said last week that more than 1 million people had registered by phone or via a website for the Vax-A-Million.
Ohio Vax-a-Million is a public outreach campaign and initiative to increase awareness of the availability and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines and provide incentives to Ohioans to get a COVID-19 vaccination. Ohioans 18 and older who have 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 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.
The winners will be announced Wednesday night at the end of the Ohio Lottery’s Cash Explosion TV show, and then each Wednesday for the next four weeks. The agency planned to use a random number generator to pick the winners ahead of time. The state must verify eligibility before confirming winners.
Republican Gov. Mike DeWine announced the lottery May 12 as means of drumming up enthusiasm for COVID-19 vaccinations as the number of people receiving doses plummeted.
“I know that some may say, ‘DeWine, you’re crazy! This million-dollar drawing idea of yours is a waste of money,’” he said at the time. But the real waste, when the vaccine is now readily available, “is a life lost to COVID-19,” the governor said.
The concept seemed to work, at least initially. The number of people in Ohio age 16 and older who received their initial COVID-19 vaccine jumped 33% in the week after the state announced its million-dollar incentive lottery, according to an Associated Press analysis.
But the same review also found that vaccination rates are still well below figures from earlier in April and March.
State Health Director Stephanie McCloud has said the incentives were “needed to reinvigorate interest” in getting vaccinated and that there was a “dramatic increase in vaccinations” in the 16-and-older group.
There are only two ways to enter Ohio Vax-a-Million: online at www.ohiovaxamillion.com and by phone at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634). To help avoid scams, do not follow suspicious URLs or call other phone numbers to enter. Do not provide social security numbers or other private information.
The ohiovaxamillion.com registration asks for basic contact information (name, email address, phone number), date of birth, and where the vaccination was received. It does not ask for a social security number, credit card information, or banking information. It is free to enter the Ohio Vax-a-Million drawings.
The drawing will be heard about in many ways –by email, coverage in the news media, in text messages to Ohio Lottery text message subscribers (from number 91011), and messages from local health departments or business organizations.
In addition to these legitimate sources of information, outreach could be heard from by scammers. Some signs that the message received might be suspicious are: misspelled words, incorrect grammar, references to a “sweepstakes,” the “from” email address looks suspicious, the URL listed is not ohiovaxamillion.com, or when you hover over the URL with your mouse and a different URL appears, the phone number listed is not 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).
Do not reply to an email, text message, or social media direct message with personal information. Only share entry information at www.ohiovaxamillion.com or by phone at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).
If a source looks suspicious, open a new browser tab and type the URL manually: ohiovaxamillion.com. Contact the Ohio Department of Health’s Call Center at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634) with any questions about an email, text message, social media message, or phone call.
More than 5.1 million people in Ohio had at least started the vaccination process as of Monday, or 44% of the state. About 4.5 million people are done getting vaccinated, or 38% of the state.
DeWine’s proposal inspired similar vaccine-incentive lotteries in New York and Maryland.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.