Who is the Next Winners of The The Ohio's Vax-a-Million Lottery?
Who is the Next Winners of The The Ohio's Vax-a-Million Lottery?

More than 5.2 million people in Ohio had at least started the vaccination process as of Monday, or about 45% of the state. About 4.6 million people are done getting vaccinated, or 39% of the state. Nationally, more than 165 million Americans have started the vaccination process, or about nearly 50% of the population. More than 131 million are fully vaccinated, or nearly 40%.

Vax-a-Million is open to permanent Ohio residents who have received either the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or their first part of the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccination.

Who is Abbigail Bugenske - the Ohio’s first $1 million Vax-a-Million winner?

Abbigail Bugenske has won Ohio's first $1 million jackpot in the state's Vax-a-Million lottery.

A recent college graduate, the 22-year-old Bugenske lives in the Cincinnati area, residing in the small and quiet village of Silverton about 11 miles northeast of the city.

She works for GE Aviation, recently moving to the area for her job.

She's also an Ohio State University student pursuing a master's in aerospace engineering, and graduated from Michigan State University in August of last year.

Speaking to the press for the first time Thursday, Bugenske said she has no plans to quit her current job — a job she loves — and plans to donate at least some of her winnings to charity.

“I was completely surprised when I got the call. I still can’t believe it. It was a crazy night," the 22-year-old said.

Who is the Next Winners of The The Ohio's Vax-a-Million Lottery?
In this still image, taken from video by the Office of the Ohio Governor, Abbigail Bugenske, 22, from Cincinnati, the first winner of Ohio’s first $1 million Vax-a-Million vaccination incentive prize, is interviewed during a news conference on May 27, 2021. (Office of Ohio Governor via AP)

Bugenske received a personal call from Gov. Mike DeWine Wednesday evening, shortly before the state's 7:29 p.m. drawing.

“Calling someone and telling them that they won a million dollars is a great thing," the governor said through a large smile, remembering Bugenske's reaction.

She was driving from the Cincinnati area to her parents' house in the Cleveland area, a bit oblivious that the drawing was currently happening.

“I was screaming enough that my parents thought I was crying and that something was wrong," she said. "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 before I really started freaking out.”

The call was, in fact, real. Bugenske said her phone began to blow up with notes from friends and social media friend requests.

The 22-year-old said she received the COVID-19 vaccine long before the birth of the Vax-a-Million program, but added that if winning $1 million isn't an incentive enough, she doesn't know what is.

“I originally got vaccinated just to protect friends, family and everyone I came in contact with,” she said, adding that Vax-a-Million win was just a bonus.

More than 2.7 million adults signed up for the $1 million prize and more than 104,000 children ages 12 to 17 entered the drawing for the college scholarship, which includes tuition, room and board, and books.

Joseph Costello, 14, of Englewood, won the first lottery for a full-ride scholarship.

Four more $1 million and college scholarship winners will be announced each Wednesday for the next four weeks.

Who is Joseph Costello - Vax-a-Million's first scholarship winner?

He’s only 14, but can attend almost any college he wishes.

Joseph Costello, of Englewood, was announced as Ohio's first Vax-a-Million scholarship winner, awarded a full-ride scholarship at only 14 years old.

His mother is a chemical engineer and his father is a school teacher. But neither of them will need to figure out how to pay for Joseph's college.

“My first reaction was I thought maybe I was listening to your voice -- that it was a taped message," mother Colleen Costello told Ohio Gov. Mike Dewine Thursday. "The more we talked, the more I realized it was really live. I was really thankful that moment because there was a bench nearby. I needed to sit down and sort of ... ground myself a little to absorb the information you were sharing.”

Joseph had just finished the eighth grade. He just received his first shot on Saturday ahead of Wednesday evening's drawing.

His mother entered Joseph and her two other children in the lottery.

Now, he gets free college tuition. That scholarship also includes room, board and books. However, winning a scholarship does not guarantee admission.

In a big update Thursday, DeWine announced that the state will put money into a 529 Plan for the winner. The amount of money put in will be equal to the highest Ohio state university cost. That way, the winner can still go to a college of his or her choosing.

Joseph said Thursday he's still unsure what he wants to study, or which university he wishes to attend. But the 14-year-old still has time to think about that.

There will be a total of five weekly Vax-a-Million drawings. During the first drawing, Abbigail Bugenske of Silverton in Hamilton County won a $1 million cash prize and Joseph Costello of Englewood in Montgomery County will be given a full-ride college scholarship.

The winners, selected through a random number generator, will be announced each Wednesday at around 7:29 p.m., with the final announcement taking place on June 23.

Registration for the Ohio Vax-a-Million can be entered online at ohiovaxamillion.com, or by phone at 1-833-427-5634.

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