Ds Scholarship

Teen reacts to winning 4-year college scholarship in Ohio’s vaccine lottery

Joseph Costello, 14, won a full four-year scholarship.

Joseph Costello, a high school student, will get his college tuition due thanks to getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

It was announced Wednesday that Joseph, of Englewood, Ohio, had won a full four-year scholarship — with room, board, and books fees — in the Vax-a-Million Ohio lottery.

It feels so good,” Joseph, 14, said Thursday on Good Morning America, adding that he hopes to attend the University of Miami or Ohio State University. “I am very happy with it and excited.”

Joseph’s name was pulled from about 105,000 entries among those vaccinated 12 to 17 years old in a drawing held Monday in the Ohio lottery.

Joseph and Abigail Boginsky, 22, have won the first million dollar prize for eligible adults, it was announced live Wednesday night.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and First Lady Fran DeWine visited Costello and his family, and shared a photo of the moment on his Twitter profile.

Joseph is the first recipient of five full college scholarships, and Bugenske is the first winner of five million-dollar prizes the state will award to eligible residents who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We were planning to vaccinate all of our children by the end of the month,” Joseph’s mother, Coleen Costello, said on the GMA programme. “The competition, though, sped our decision and we got it done before the first draw.”

“It still sucks for a while, but it’s very exciting,” added Joseph’s father, Richard Costello. “We are really grateful for that.”

DeWine announced the Vax-a-Million contest, which is funded with federal COVID-19 stimulus money, on May 12 as a way to raise the state’s vaccination numbers.

As of Wednesday, 4.5 million state residents, about 39.19% of Ohio’s total population, were fully vaccinated, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

However, since DeWine announced the competition, health officials have said they have seen an increase in the first doses. A total of 287,013 new first doses were administered over the past two weeks, an increase of 5.8% from May 12, according to the data.

After Ohio started the “Vax-a-Million” initiative, five other states followed suit with various sweepstakes for the big prizes: Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Oregon.

Other states have set up incentives to increase the dwindling numbers of vaccinations. New Jersey and Connecticut offer free beer to adults who get their shots, West Virginia offers a $100 state savings guarantee, and New York offers free subway cards plus 50 full college scholarships.

ABC News’s Evan Pereira, Erin Schumaker, and Brian Hartmann contributed to this report.

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