“This is going to be a chance for Michiganders to get registered and to be eligible for $5 million in cash prizes and college scholarships,” Whitmer said.
The governor said the sweepstakes will be “a great tool in our arsenal to fight COVID.”
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As of Thursday, 62.4% of Michiganders ages 16 and up have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, Whitmer said. That’s nearly 5 million people.
Michigan’s vaccination goal has always been to get 70% of residents 16 and up vaccinated.
“With the sweepstakes, we hope to increase our rate by that 9% -- roughly 700,000 more Michiganders -- so that we can get to that 70% rate,” Whitmer said.
Who can enter?
Michigan residents who have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine between Dec. 1, 2020 and July 10, 2021 can enter. They are eligible for the cash prizes.
“Even if you’ve already had one or both of your shots, you can register to enter now,” Whitmer said.
Children ages 12-17 who have been vaccinated are also eligible, but those winners will receive prizes in the form of scholarships, according to the governor. A parent or guardian will have to help them register, but they are still eligible to win.
Employees or independent contractors with Meijer who are directly involved with operating the sweepstakes, and employees of independent contractors with the state of Michigan assisting with the sweepstakes cannot participate.
“So, I’m not going to get registered, but I encourage all of you to,” Whitmer said.
Residents aren’t automatically registered
Whitmer said even though everyone who has received the vaccine is eligible for the sweepstakes, nobody is automatically registered.
“You need to get registered,” Whitmer said. “I wanted to reiterate that because I perhaps said it wrong this morning on an interview. So I want to make sure people know: You’re not automatically registered.”
How to sign up
There are two ways to sign up for the vaccine sweepstakes: online or over the phone.
To sign up over the phone, call the COVID-19 hotline, at 888-535-6136 (press 1).
Michigan residents ages 18 and up are eligible to win the cash prizes.
The cash giveaways include:
- $1 million drawing -- awarded as a check or electronic transfer.
- $50,000 daily drawings -- one per day for 30 days.
- $2 million pot -- this will be the grand prize at the end of the summer.
For Michiganders ages 12-17 who are vaccinated, nine scholarship drawing prizes are available. Each scholarship drawing includes a four-year Michigan education trust shareable tuition program contract that can be used to pay for tuition and mandatory fees at a college or university in accordance with met terms.
When does it start?
The “MI Shot to Win Sweepstakes” begins Thursday, July 1, 2021.
Goal of sweepstakes
Whitmer said the reasoning behind the sweepstakes is to “keep Michiganders safe.”
“We need to incentivize more of us to go and get vaccinated,” Whitmer said. “You can walk into most places now and get your first shot today, and then go get registered.”
She said even though Michigan is taking positive steps in terms of its COVID metrics, people who haven’t gotten vaccinated are still at risk.
Will sweepstakes be enough?
Whitmer was asked what makes her think people who have refused to get the COVID vaccine to this point will get it because of the sweepstakes.
“That’s something we don’t know, right?” Whitmer said. “But we saw in Ohio and other states that have had sweepstakes that they saw an influx of people coming in to get vaccinated.”
She said the sweepstakes could motivate people who have questions about the vaccine to seek answers to those questions, and then potentially decide to get the vaccine.
One of the reasons Michigan is introducing this incentive for vaccinations is because the delta variant threatens to increase the spread of COVID once again.
“Right now, the delta variant of COVID-19 is in the U.S. and is present here in Michigan,” Whitmer said. “Dr. (Anthony) Fauci warned us that this variant is our greatest threat and will become the dominant strand in the U.S. soon.”
Whitmer said the delta variant is much easier to catch that the original form of COVID-19, so getting vaccinated is even more important.
Whitmer was asked if the state will recommend mask wearing as the delta variant continues to spread. She said right now, Michigan is focused on getting people vaccinated.
“Right now, our COVID numbers have just plummeted,” Whitmer said. “They have not been this low since the virus first showed up in Michigan.”
She said until Michigan gets to 70% of people vaccinated, the state’s efforts will be focused on reaching that goal.
“I do not foresee any mask mandates in the future,” Whitmer said. “We’ve learned that we’ve followed the science and listened to the experts, but at this juncture, we feel very good about where we are. We’ve got to focus on vaccinations, and that’s what this is all about.”
Elizabeth Hertel, the director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, updated the stat’s top COVID metrics during the briefing.
Michigan’s case rate is down to 13.1 cases per million people this week, and rates are declining “all over the state,” Hertel said.
The number of outbreaks is down 42% since last week.
The rate of vaccinations is slowing, though, and MDHHS continues to track the spread of variants -- particularly the delta variant.
‘Bigger and better’ than Ohio
Whitmer acknowledged that Ohio previously implemented a similar COVID incentive program, and said she wants the “MI Shot to Win Sweepstakes” to be even better.
“I know somebody must be thinking, ‘Didn’t Ohio do this first?’” Whitmer said. “Well, yes they did. But, in typical Michigan fashion, we wanted to do it bigger and better than they can do it in Ohio.”
Dr. Brian Zikmund-Fisher is a professor of Health Behavior and Health Education at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.
He said sweepstakes will motivate some, but not everyone.
“It’s not probably going to change the minds of somebody who has really got lots of explicit concerns about the vaccine or for whatever reason really have a hard no. But it is potentially going to make a difference for the people for whom they just haven’t gotten around to it, they haven’t had a reason to make that extra effort to get vaccinated and this gives them a reason to do so,” Zikmund-Fisher said.
He believes the scholarship component may be particularly effective.
“The costs of college are significant and that could be a really strong motivator,” he said.