For over 10 months, COVID-19 vaccines have been available to Ohioans, and many of us have been impatiently rolling up our sleeves for them. Older Ohioans, who are particularly at risk of dying from the virus, were the most motivated to get the vaccine. In fact, more than 88% of Ohioans between the ages of 70 and 74 have been vaccinated. Conversely, many young people have yet to receive the vaccine, with only 48% of 20-29 year olds vaccinated – leaving more than half at risk of contracting COVID-19 at a time when the delta variant is extremely infectious is among us. and when many schools are looking for ways to reduce quarantines due to classroom exposure.
To help motivate young Ohioans to get vaccinated now and protect themselves from the virus, on October 4, we began accepting registrations for our new Ohio Vax-2-School program. The program, run by the Ohio Lottery Commission, is open to Ohioans between the ages of 12 and 25 who have received at least one dose of the vaccine. And we’re ready to give kids as young as 5 the chance to participate and win scholarships as soon as the Food and Drug Administration approves a COVID-19 vaccine for them.
The Ohio Vax-2-School program offers designs for 150 scholarships of $ 10,000 and five scholarships of $ 100,000. A total of $ 2 million in scholarships will be awarded under the Ohio 529 College Advantage plans which can be used in the college, university, technical / trade school, or career program of the student’s choice. winner. Ohio 529 accounts can also be used to pay off student loan debts or to cover graduate programs and certificates.
We believe the Ohio Vax-2-School program will help influence young people in Ohio to choose to be vaccinated when they might have procrastinated or been ambivalent about it. The program is based on our groundbreaking Ohio Vax-a-Million campaign which ran from May 13 to June 20 and awarded $ 1 million each to five vaccinated adults and college scholarships to five vaccinated youth. Many Ohioans were eager to participate and took the time to get their shots that they may have delayed. In fact, during the first week of the Ohio Vax-a-Million campaign, Ohio saw a 106 percent increase in vaccinations. The increased demand for vaccination caused by the inducement is detailed in a study by Neil KR Sehgal of Harvard University published Aug. 2 in The American Journal of Medicine, which found that an additional 114,553 Ohioans had been vaccinated at the sequel to the Ohio Vax- a-Million program.
Aside from incentives, the best reasons to get vaccinated are to protect individual health and that of others. Medical experts recommend that young people get the COVID-19 vaccine to protect them against the virus, which is sometimes milder than older adults experience, but can still lead to lung infections and hospitalization. Young children can also have complications such as multisystem inflammatory syndrome, a disease in which the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or other organs become inflamed. The condition can be serious and require hospitalization.
Every Ohioan who gets vaccinated brings us one step closer to the end of the pandemic. COVID-19 does not spread easily among people who have been vaccinated, and getting vaccinated can prevent other, progressively worse variants from emerging to threaten the community.
COVID-19 among young people also threatens the continuity of education. Vaccinating young people will help prevent learning disruptions caused by disease and quarantine. Vaccinated students do not have to self-quarantine. And, without COVID-19 outbreaks, schools will be able to remain open and provide the classroom instruction needed for in-person learning, interaction with teachers, and significant socialization. Thus, with the vaccinations, young people can continue to participate, without interruption, in the activities they enjoy, such as sports, clubs and other extracurricular activities.
Young people in Ohio and their parents who are unsure of the vaccination should talk to their doctor. For those interested in participating in the Ohio Vax-2-School program, visit www.ohiovax2school.com or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).