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More Vaccination Scholarship Incentives Announced By Ohio Governor

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced a new round of vaccine incentive programs Thursday, although it is not clear if other incentives offered earlier this year increased vaccination rates.

Younger Ohioans could receive up to $100,000 as part of a new scholarship vaccination incentive from the Ohio Department of Health.

The incentive, called the Vax to School program, is a new scholarship drawing open to any Ohioan age 12 to 25 who receives a COVID-19 vaccine, DeWine announced in a press conference Thursday.

Five $100,000 scholarships will be offered, in addition to 50 scholarships in the amount of $10,000 each. The money can be used for a number of career or college opportunities, including tuition or job training, DeWine said.

More details on what the scholarships can be used for and how to sign up for the drawing will be announced next week, he said.

Health officials are concerned about the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in school-age children. Since Aug. 15, 42,000 COVID-19 cases have been reported in Ohio's schools, DeWine said.

Two Ohio schools are partially remote right now due to the uptick in cases, he said, and children's hospitals are reporting their highest numbers of hospitalizations since the pandemic began.

There is no statewide mask mandate for schools. As of now, 61 percent of kids are required to wear masks in the state's K-12 schools, DeWine said.

"The way to keep kids in school, frankly, is to get more of them vaccinated," he said.

Currently, 46 percent of Ohioans age 12 to 25 are vaccinated, DeWine said. In comparison, 84 percent of Ohioans age 65 and over are vaccinated, he added.

The Pfizer vaccine is currently authorized for individuals age 12 and up. Authorization of the vaccine for kids age five to 11 is not expected until later this fall, health officials said.

The state introduced the first round of incentives earlier this year when vaccination rates stalled in early May. The million-dollar vaccine lottery, Vax-a-Million, and scholarships for high school students initially led to a major increase in vaccination rates in the state. The initial bump, however, appeared to level off as the lottery continued for several weeks.

This is a developing story and will be updated.


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