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Ohio Resident Becomes First ‘Vaccine Millionaire’

Credit: Unsplash

While around half of the total population of the United States have received at least one vaccine shot, a lot of people are still somewhat reluctant to get jabbed. The most common concerns revolve around the well-known side effects that occur after the second shot (which, speaking from experience, really aren’t that bad), and of course, there’s the usual battery of conspiracy theorists that are convinced vaccines are mind-control devices or something. In an effort to counteract this reluctance, multiple US states have enacted prize programs to give people a little more incentive to get the shot. This week, we got our first big winner.

Ohio is running its own “Vax-a-Million” lottery, wherein any Ohio resident that gets vaccinated is entered to win a million dollars, courtesy of the Ohio Department of Health. On Wednesday, the lottery had its first winner: 22-year old Cincinnati resident Abbey Bugenske. She received a call during a drive to Cleveland, where Ohio’s own Governor, Mike DeWine, informed her that she had just become a millionaire.

“I was screaming enough that my parents thought I was crying and that something was wrong,” she said at a press conference. “And when I started yelling that I won $1 million and was going to be a millionaire, they told me to calm down and make sure it wasn’t a prank.”

Bugenske plans to use a portion of the money to buy herself a new car, while the remainder will either be invested or donated to local charities. Even without this fantastic prize, though, Bugenske has said she would’ve gotten the shot no matter what.

“Vaccines have always been in my medical history. It was a pretty easy decision to go and get the vaccine as fast as I could,” she said. “I would encourage anyone to get the vaccine. If winning $1 million isn’t enough, I don’t know what would be.”


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