Opinion | Don’t Roll Your Eyes at Ohio’s Vaccine Lottery

By Mike DeWine

Mr. DeWine is the governor of Ohio. He recently created a lottery for vaccinated Ohioans.

At the pandemic’s start, all governors faced a question: How do you make decisions without a road map?

My approach to the pandemic reflects what I’ve learned in over 40 years of public service. Throughout my career, I have made my share of mistakes. They usually come from not seeking out experts in the field and not following my instinct.

So, as the pandemic has evolved, I have consulted frequently with current and former governors, local health commissioners in Ohio, mayors and other elected officials. Our team has sought advice from medical and scientific experts in Ohio and across the country.

Those conversations informed some tough early decisions: In early March 2020 we ordered the closure of the Arnold Sports Festival before a single coronavirus case was confirmed in Ohio. Ohio was also the first state to announce the closure of schools for in-person learning. These choices seem obvious now, but at that time we were guided only by the question, How many people will die if we don’t do this?

The decision to create Vax-a-Million, which is a chance for vaccinated adults to win one of five $1 million prizes and for vaccinated 12- to 17-year-olds to win one of five full-ride scholarships to any Ohio state college or university, came about like those other pandemic decisions: out of necessity.

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