Is Michigan’s vaccine incentive lottery working?


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan’s vaccine incentive lottery is giving people the chance to win big money, but whether it will make a big difference in getting more Michiganders vaccinated remains to be seen.

A week into the MI Shot to Win Sweepstakes, county health officials are underwhelmed by the numbers.

Since the program began, more than 1.3 million Michiganders have signed up for the lottery, but health officials are looking at a different metric — the daily number of people getting their first dose.

When the lottery was announced last Wednesday, Michigan’s vaccination rate was at 61.82%. A week into to the sweepstakes, that number has climbed less than half a percent, with the state reporting Thursday a vaccination rate of 62% for those 16 or older.

These numbers tell health officials that most of the million-plus people signing up for the lottery so far were already vaccinated before the sweepstakes was announced.

While the million-dollar drawings are open to any vaccinated Michigander, the $50,000 daily drawings are only for people who received their first dose that day.

The sweepstakes will also give nine $55,000 college scholarships to residents age 12 to 17.

From Kent County down to Cass County, health officials told News 8 their daily vaccination numbers continue to crawl.

“The numbers are pretty low right now … so I don’t think we’re going to see a spike at all,” Brian Hartl with the Kent County Health Department said. “I talked to some of our staff at the health department to see if people are asking about (the lottery) or coming because of it and they said not yet, so I think that the word still needs to get out.”

In Calhoun County, it’s a similar story.

“At our local clinic on Tuesday night, we asked everyone that came through and nobody had even heard of the (lottery) program yet,” Eric Pessell with the Calhoun County Health Department said.

At a mobile clinic in Grand Rapids Thursday, one man coming in for his first shot said his decision to get vaccinated had nothing to do with the lottery incentive.

“I wasn’t here for the millions,” Cliff Daniel said. “For my health, not the money.”

Just as Daniel was at first skeptical of the vaccine before doing his research, he also questioned whether the lottery was the real deal.

A few quick clicks later, Daniel was entered for the lottery, eligible to win the big million-dollar drawing next week as well as the daily drawing for only those vaccinated on Thursday.

“In the meantime, I’m just blessed and good having been able to come and get the shot,” Daniel said.

Officials with the MI Shot to Win Sweepstakes told News 8 there have been three daily drawings so far and the winners have been notified. The plan is to go public with those winners Wednesday, as it takes a few days of verification and paperwork following each drawing.

As of July 9, the state said, some 1.4 million people had entered the sweepstakes.

You can go to or call the Michigan COVID-19 hotline at 888.535.6136 and press 1 to enter. Those between the ages of 12 and 17 must be registered by a parent.

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