COVID vaccine trial participants concerned about not being eligible for Michigan’s sweepstakes

Trial participants received doses prior to Dec. 1 -- date used to determine sweepstakes eligibility

Trial participants not eligible for sweepstakes in Michigan
Trial participants not eligible for sweepstakes in Michigan

The state of Michigan is on the receiving end of billions in COVID relief, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is now using about $5.5 million of those federal dollars to incentivize getting the vaccine.

However, there are concerns over who is eligible for the “MI Shot to Win Sweepstakes” money, and that is the very first people who received the vaccine.

The governor decided that since the vaccine became available to the public on Dec. 1, 2020, that was the date she’d use for people to register for a chance to win.

MORE: Michigan COVID vaccine sweepstakes: Who can enter, how to sign up, prize list, full details

But back in August, 69-year-old Ray Corbin, a retired Troy engineer, took his own calculated risk.

“I decided there was something I could do in light of everything that we couldn’t do and that I would try and help by being a volunteer for the Moderna vaccine,” Corbin said.

Corbin and his wife, Carol, decided that he would join a 26-month long Henry Ford Health Moderna study, which came with its own incentive.

“They said, ‘You get paid for this.’ I said, ‘I don’t want to get paid for this,’ and they said, ‘You don’t have any choice, we’re gonna put money on this debit card,’” he recalled.

READ: Michigan COVID vaccine sweepstakes: Nearly 500K enter in first day

By participating, Corbin received his first of two vaccine doses on Aug. 30, 2020, which leaves him out of sweepstakes.

His wife received her vaccine after Dec. 1, which is what alerted him that he was not eligible.

“When I saw that, I was quite taken aback,” he said.

“Sometimes I don’t understand government thinking,” he added.

Officials with the Governor’s Office referred Local 4′s questions to Meijer, which they said is administering the program. Meijer could not be reached for comment by Monday afternoon.


About the Author:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.