Advance Notice: Briefs

$1M COVID vaccine lottery winner announced

By: - July 21, 2021 11:34 am

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

LaTonda Anderson of Grand Blanc has won $1 million in Michigan’s sweepstakes to encourage more people to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“In my opinion, it’s the ultimate act of unselfishness,” she said.

New winners of the “MI Shot to Win” contest were announced at a virtual press conference Wednesday morning that included Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and Michigan native and actor Tim Meadows.

Actor and Michigan native Tim Meadows announced winners of Michigan’s vaccine lottery on July 21. 2021 | Screenshot

“I was vaccinated — not too long ago, actually, probably like a month ago. And when I got my second shot, it was just a big relief because I felt like I could get out and do things and I wasn’t susceptible to getting sick or passing it on or anything,” Meadows said.

The two $50,000 daily drawing winners are Jenna Basaj of Madison Heights and Paul Bareno of Rockford. The first contest winners were announced last week.

Gilchrist said, “I know it’s tempting to celebrate” with COVID-19 cases still relatively low in Michigan, but he noted the unvaccinated are still at risk, especially with the more contagious Delta variant that’s rapidly spreading across the country.

The lottery-style raffle for vaccinated Michiganders is a chance to win more than $5 million in cash and a total of nearly $500,000 in college scholarships. Other states, including Ohio, have announced similar efforts.

The contest aims to increase the state’s vaccination rate by roughly 9% — or approximately 667,000 Michiganders — to achieve the statewide goal of 70% of residents age 16 and older who are immunized.

About 5 million Michiganders, or 62.7% of the population age 16 and older, have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, according to the state.

The effort is sponsored by Meijer in partnership with the Michigan Association of United Ways and the State of Michigan and supported by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Association of State Universities, Small Business Association of Michigan, Business Leaders of Michigan, the Protect Michigan Commission and others organizations.

The sweepstakes ends on Aug. 3. Eligibility criteria for each of the drawings is at

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Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 22-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQ+ people, the state budget, the economy and more. She previously served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 90 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 5,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 80 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two kids along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.