State says sweepstakes increased COVID vaccine rate from 61% to 63%

By: - August 23, 2021 12:51 pm

Willette Shaw, a 67-year-old African-American Highland Park resident, receives a COVID-19 vaccination. | Ken Coleman

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, alongside leaders of the Protect Michigan Commission and Michigan Education Trust, on Monday announced the last round of winners in the Michigan Shot To Win sweepstakes, a raffle for those who have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine. 

The raffle is awarding fully-vaccinated Michiganders over $5 million in cash and almost $500,000 in college scholarships. The contest ran from July 1 to Aug. 3.

LaTonda Anderson won $1 million in the COVID-19 vaccine lottery | Screenshot

The $1 million prize winner was LaTonda Anderson from Genesee County and the $2 million prize winner was Christine Duval of Oakland County.

Over 2.4 million Michigan residents have signed up for a chance to win the cash prizes, while 106,000 Michiganders aged 12 to 17 entered to win the scholarship prizes. The cash prizes included 30 daily prizes of $50,000 with a $1 million and $2 million grand prize. For those12 to 17, there were nine four-year scholarship prizes. 

Whitmer thanked Michiganders for doing their part and attributed some of Michigan’s success in getting people vaccinated to the raffle competition. 

“Thanks to every Michigander who got their shot, the MI Shot To Win Sweepstakes has been a success and we are continuing to make progress in keeping our families and communities safe,” Whitmer said. “But our work is not done. We are going to keep making efforts to reach people where they are, answer their questions and help them get their shots. If we work together, I know we can get this done and continue our economic jumpstart.” 

The raffle helped boost the state’s vaccination rates from 61% to 63%, inching the state closer to its goal of 70% of Michiganders over 16 being vaccinated. 

The state said Michigan recorded week-to-week increases for first dose vaccinations throughout July during the sweepstakes:  

  • July 4-10: 28,000 first doses administered 
  • July 11-17: 30,000 first doses administered 
  • July 18-24: 35,000 first doses administered 
  • July 25-30: 41,000 first doses administered 

Unvaccinated Michiganders have made up 98% of COVID cases, 95% of hospitalizations, and 96% of deaths from June to July. 

Sweepstakes media coverage has also resulted in over $7 million in free publicity about the importance of getting vaccinated, according to Protect Michigan Commission Director Kerry Ebersole Singh. She urged people to get their shots to “continue putting people back to work, continue our economic jumpstart, and ensure students can safely learn in the classroom.” 

COVID-19 vaccination rate increase | State of Michigan graphic

“Several winners who were previously unvaccinated before the sweepstakes said they were inspired to get their vaccinations based on those discussions and the prizes they could win,” she added.

The sweepstakes is a product of the Protect Michigan Commission, a commission established by Whitmer in January within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services that works to ensure every Michigander will get the COVID-19 vaccine. 

The commission also aims to continue educating the public about the COVID-19 vaccine, increase community access to vaccines, and door-to-door canvassing to boost vaccine confidence and subsequent vaccination rates.

Other sweepstakes partners were Meijer, Michigan Association of United Ways and the state of Michigan. The event was also supported by numerous other organizations across Michigan, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the Michigan Association of State Universities.


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Julia Forrest
Julia Forrest

Julia Forrest is a contributor to the Michigan Advance. She has been covering Michigan and national politics for two years at the Michigan Daily and OpenSecrets. She studies public policy at the University of Michigan.