COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio has announced the first winners in its Vax-A-Million lottery drawing.
Abbigail Bugenske, of Silverton, was picked as the first of five $1 million winners Wednesday, while Joseph Costello, of Englewood, won a full-ride scholarship to any of Ohio’s state universities.
According to Fox 8 in Cleveland, Abbigail Bugenske is a graduate of Shaker Heights High School, her mother Lisa Bugenske confirmed. Abbigail currently is working as an engineer in Southern Ohio.
The family is overwhelmed with the winning announcement, Lisa said. Abbigail had reportedly gotten the vaccine before the drawing was announced and her family wants to get the word out about the importance of vaccinations. At this time, Abbigail is not speaking with reporters.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine posted a photo of himself with Joseph Costello and his family after the drawing Wednesday, congratulating Costello on being selected.
“I’m very happy my scholarship is taken care of, but still taking in the moment about it,” Joseph Costello said.
The 14-year-old Northmont High School student said he plans to attend either the University of Dayton, Miami University, or Ohio State University.
His family said they can sleep soundly knowing their son’s college is paid for, but also knowing he’s vaccinated.
“You don’t have anything to lose,” his parents, Rich and Colleen, said. “You’re going to be vaccinated and you might win a free ride to school.”
Names are drawn on the Monday following the Sunday entry deadline. According to the state’s lottery commission, it draws a winner and up to 100 alternates using a random number generator. Those names are then turned over to the Ohio Department of Health to verify their vaccination status. Should the first name not meet the required standards, the next name on the list is checked, and so on until a winner is verified.
According to the Ohio Lottery and the Ohio Department of Health, 2,758,470 Ohioans entered the drawing to win $1 million prize, and 104,386 Ohioans age 12 to 17 entered to the drawing for a college scholarship.
“We’re excited that this has inspired so many Ohioans to get vaccinated, and we’re thrilled to announce the winners of the first round of drawings,” said Gov. Mike DeWine in a press release after the announcement.
The next scheduled drawings for the Vax-A-Million prizes are:
|Entry deadline||Drawing date||Announcement date|
|May 30, 11:59:59 p.m.||May 31||June 2, 7:29 p.m.|
|June 6, 11:59:59 p.m.||June 7||June 9, 7:29 p.m.|
|June 13, 11:59:59 p.m.||June 14||June 16, 7:29 p.m.|
|June 20, 11:59:59 p.m.||June 21||June 23, 7:29 p.m.|
All Ohio residents who have had at least one Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson shot are urged to register at Ohiovaxamillion.com or by calling 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634). Ohioans who meet the eligibility requirements have until Sunday, May 30 at 11:59 p.m. to sign up for next Wednesday’s winner announcement. If you entered the first drawing, there is no need to register again — your entry is good for the next four drawings.