Toledo man wins Ohio’s $1 million Vax-a-Million prize

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Posted at 4:02 PM, Jun 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-02 19:51:00-04

The Ohio Lottery announced the winners of the second round of the state’s Vax-a-Million drawing.

Jonathan Carlyle of Toledo won the $1 million prize, and Zoie Vincent of Mayfield Village in Cuyahoga County won a college scholarship.

The winners were announced on live television.

The state is offering five $1 million prizes and five full college scholarships to Ohioans 12 and older who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as part of its Vax-a-Million campaign to increase vaccine rates in the state.

This week’s drawing included 3,225,789 entrants 18 and older for the $1 million prize and 132,903 entrants ages 12 to 17 for the college scholarship. This is an increase of 467,320 entries for the cash prize and 28,518 entries for the scholarship, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Sunday was the deadline to enter for this week’s drawing, Entries not selected automatically carry over to the next drawing.

Gov. Mike DeWine has drawn criticism since last month’s announcement of the Vax-a-Million campaign. However, several states have since created similar vaccination lottery programs, such as New York and California. New Mexico on Tuesday announced it would award $10 million in prizes to those who are vaccinated, including one $5 million grand prize; this is the largest single cash prize offered by any state.

Ohio is using federal CARES Act money to fund the cash and scholarship prizes.

Here’s what you should know about the drawings:

What are the prizes?

The Ohio Vax-a-Million campaign will award five $1 million prizes and five full college scholarships to Ohioans 12 and older who have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

Ohioans 18 and older are eligible for a $1 million prize and residents 12 to 17 are eligible for a scholarship.

Scholarships will cover room and board, tuition and books for four years at any Ohio state college, university or technical or trade school. The winners of the scholarships will choose which school they attend. However, winning the scholarship does not guarantee admission to any school.

The state will work with any winners who wish to attend a private Ohio university, Gov. Mike DeWine said last week.

Winners of the million-dollar prize will be responsible for paying any related taxes.

When is the drawing?

The second drawing took place on Memorial Day.

The Ohio Lottery is using a random number generator to select winners, which is a computer that randomly picks a winner and alternates for each drawing.

While the public will not be able to watch the drawing, a representative from the Ohio Auditor’s Office will be present.

Prior to each drawing, the state will go through entries to remove duplicates.

Once the computer selects a winning number, it’s entered into the database to reveal the winner. Then the lottery draw staff and representative from the auditor’s office both sign off on the drawing.

The next drawing is scheduled for Monday, June 7.

Drawings will take place each Monday, with the final drawing slated for June 21.

For a behind-the-scenes look at random number generator drawings, view the video from the Ohio Lottery below:

When will the winners be announced?

The second-round winners of the $1 million prize and college scholarship were announced today and named on TV and online at

Additional winners will be announced on June 9, June 16 and June 23.

The Ohio Department of Health will use the time between the drawing and naming of the winners to verify that the winners are valid entrants and meet the campaign’s rules. If a winner rejects the prize or is not eligible, the state will select the first alternate and so on until a valid winner is found.

How do you sign up?

To sign up, visit and select “Adult Registration” for the $1 million drawing or “12-17 Year Old Registration” for the college scholarship drawing.

Participants also can call the Ohio Department of Health at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. to register.

To be eligible to win, entrants must be a permanent Ohio resident and U.S. citizen with who has received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine the Sunday prior to the drawing date. Participants must be 12 or older.

Entrants do not need to have been vaccinated in Ohio to be eligible; however, ODH will ask for proof of vaccination.

Eligible residents can only enter once. Entries not selected will automatically carry over to the next drawing.

Who has won already?

Ohio announced the winners of the first drawings last Wednesday.

Joseph Costello, 14, of Englewood, won the scholarship, and Abbigail Bugenske, a GE Aviation employee who lives in Hamilton County, won the $1 million prize.

During a press conference with the governor last week, both winners shared their shock at being selected.

Bugenske said she thought it was a prank and Costello said he still hadn’t really processed it yet.

Costello isn’t sure what he wants to study in college, but is considering Miami University or Ohio State University.

Bugenske said she had plans to buy a used car and would donate some of the $1 million prize to charity and also invest it.