Michigan is adopting some added financial incentive in an attempt to jumpstart the declining uptake in COVID-19 vaccines.
On Thursday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer unveiled the “MI Shot To Win Sweepstakes,” which will feature up to 32 cash prize winners and nine college scholarship winners, all of whom will have gotten at least one dose of vaccine to be eligible.
The lottery-style program begins as the number of residents getting vaccinated per week has dropped significantly since peaking in mid-April. Last week, the state administered 85,100 doses -- down from 200,274 reported four weeks earlier.
Whitmer said the program’s goal is to get another 700,000 Michiganders vaccinated, which would help the state reach its goal of having 70% of the eligible population with protection against severe COVID-19.
As of 8 a.m. Friday, July 2, the sweepstakes had received 464,698 applicants for the grand prizes, and 23,978 youth signed up for the scholarship drawing.
Below are five things to know about the sweepstakes:
1. If you’re already vaccinated
Michiganders 18 years or older are eligible to win either the $2 million or $1 million prize, which will see the winners selected July 11 and Aug. 4, respectively.
To enter, vaccinated residents can visit mishottowin.com and click “register now,” or by calling 888-535-6136 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the weekend.
You’ll need to provide the date you got your first dose to verify you’re eligible. The winner of the $1 million prize will have had been vaccinated between Dec. 1 and July 10, and the $2 million winner will have been vaccinated between Dec. 1 and July 30.
2. If you’re not yet vaccinated
The supply of vaccines in Michigan has surpassed the demand, meaning there are walk-in and appointment opportunities available at pharmacies, health systems and other vaccine sites throughout the state. Shots of the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available.
If you’re 18 or older and you get your first shot before July 10, you can enter through mishottowin.com for the chance to win the $1 million prize. Similarly, if you get a first dose before July 30, you can enter into the $2 million drawing.
Additionally, residents who get their first shot between July 1 and July 30 will have another chance to win. Beginning Thursday, July 6, the sweepstakes will pull one $50,000 winner from the pool of adult residents who got vaccinated five days earlier (July 1). They’ll do the same thing each day for 30 days, with the final drawing slated for Aug. 4.
To find a vaccine near you, visit Michigan’s COVID-19 vaccine website.
3. Residents age 12-17 can’t take the grand prize, but they can still win
Youth ages 12 to 17 can get a vaccine but they’re not eligible for the big money prizes. However, they can enter to win one of nine college scholarships, each worth about $55,000 according to the state of Michigan.
All nine scholarship drawings will be done on Aug. 4. Youth who got their first shot between Dec. 1 and July 30 will be eligible to enter at mishottowin.com. A parent or guardian must enter for them. The deadline to enter is Aug. 3.
4. Why the state isn’t handling the program
When other states like Ohio and New York were unveiling similar lottery-style sweepstakes in the spring, Whitmer said Michigan’s gaming laws prohibited it from adopting a vaccine lottery.
According to Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office, “The Lottery Act does not authorize a lottery in which tickets are given away for free and does not generate revenue for the School Aid Fund.”
Whitmer said Thursday that her administration sought to change the gaming statute but the “legislature wasn’t interested” so Michigan needed someone else to take ownership of the program.
Thus, Meijer and the Michigan Association of United Ways are leading the charge, in partnership with a number of other groups including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Association of State Universities, Small Business Association of Michigan, Business Leaders of Michigan, and the Protect Michigan Commission.
Funding for the prizes comes from a grant utilizing federal COVID relief dollars.
5. Where Michigan stands with vaccinations
The state has administered more than 9 million doses of the three available vaccines, including more than 5 million of the two-dose Pfizer shot and more than 3.6 million of the two-dose Moderna shot.
Nearly 4.86 million residents have gotten a first dose shot, or 56.5% of the 12 and older population. About 52.2% of that population has completed their recommended dosage for maximum efficacy of the vaccines.
The slowing of vaccinations is a national challenge, with shots dipping from more than 3 million per day in April to about 1.8 million per day, according to Our World in Data.
Read more on MLive:
Are Michigan’s COVID-19 numbers bottoming out?
Michigan coronavirus data for Friday, July 2: Case numbers, positivity rate tick up
Even if you’ve already had your COVID vaccine, you can still enter Michigan’s lottery. Here’s how
Benefits of COVID-19 vaccines outweigh risk of rare reactions in adolescents, doctors say