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Michigan announces first $50,000 vaccine lottery winners

a nurse holds a vial of one of the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Spectrum Health

There could be money in getting vaccinated.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announcedthe first four $50,000 COVID-19 vaccine “MI Shot to Win” lottery prize winners Wednesday. There will also be a $1 million drawing, a $2 million drawing and scholarship prizes.

Whitmer is looking for ways to move the state from 62.4 % of Michiganders age 16 and up who've gotten a first shot to the elusive 70% mark. Winning over vaccine-hesitant Michiganders is critical to that mission.

She said the more contagious Delta variant adds to the urgency. 

“Know that this variant is to be taken seriously, and we hope you will get your shot and register for ‘Your Shot to Win,’” she said.

“I know it’s tempting to celebrate right now because we have been moving forward. If you’ve not gotten your shot yet, the virus is a still very real threat to you. Right now, the Delta variant is highly infectious and it’s in the United States and here in Michigan,” Whitmer noted. 

University of Michigan health professor Kenneth Resnicow says it’s not clear how well vaccine lotteries work based on the experience in other states.

“But I don’t think there’s any evidence yet of harm, where we see the states that have some sort of lottery or prize having a rapid deceleration, that things got worse,” he said.

But he said it’s possible vaccine momentum could ebb once the lotteries end.

“Another unknown us whether you have to keep going or, when you pull it, does it actually lead to a rapid decline?”

Michigan is accepting entries through August 3.

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Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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