Michigan launches vaccine lottery to push state to 70% goal


Gov. Whitmer got her second COVID-19 vaccine dose on Thursday, April 29. - STATE OF MICHIGAN
  • State of Michigan
  • Gov. Whitmer got her second COVID-19 vaccine dose on Thursday, April 29.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is making a bet that a lottery will help boost Michigan's declining COVID-19 vaccination rate to reach her goal of inoculating 70% of eligible residents in the state.

Whitmer surprise announced the "MI Shot To Win Sweepstakes" Wednesday night, offering more information during a Thursday morning press conference. The effort has more than $5 million in cash prizes for people age 18 or older, and nine $55,000 college scholarships for people ages 12-17.

The cash prizes include a $1 million drawing for those who register before July 10, a $2 million prize for those who register before Aug. 3, and 30 daily $50,000 drawings for those who register through Aug. 3.

The scholarships will be awarded through July 30.

So far, about 62.4% of the state's eligible residents, or 4.9 million people, have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines. The MI Shot To Win Sweepstakes aims to increase the state’s vaccination rate by roughly 9% – or nearly 768,000 Michigan residents.

Waiting until the final stretch might be a savvy move. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine rolled out a similar program back in May, which was credited with driving a brief surge in vaccinations, including a 94% increase among 16- and 17- year-olds, 46% among 18- and 19-year-olds, and 55% among people between 20 and 49 years old.

"I know some of you must be thinking, 'Didn't Ohio do this first?' Well, yes, they did," Whitmer said at the press conference. "But in typical Michigan fashion, we wanted to do it bigger and better than they can do it in Ohio."

The lottery is open to anyone ages 12 and up who has received a COVID-19 vaccine from Dec. 1, 2020 through July 10, 2021. (People under age 17 need a parent or guardian to help them get registered.) Registration for the lottery is not automatic — people have to sign up online at MIshottowin.com or by calling 888-535-6136.

The contest comes as a more contagious "Delta" strain of the virus is rapidly spreading across the world, causing some governments to reimpose mask mandates and other shutdown measures.

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