3 metro Detroiters among first lottery winners in 'MI Shot To Win' vaccine sweepstakes
Money toward new homes.
That's how half of the initial four Michiganders who won $50,000 each for getting their COVID-19 vaccines this month plan to spend their winnings from the MI Shot To Win vaccine sweepstakes.
Three of the winners announced Wednesday are from metro Detroit and the fourth is from the west side of the state. The winners are:
- Amber Berger of New Baltimore
- Adrienne Peterson of Southfield
- Christopher Ackerman of Detroit
- Larita Lee of Wyoming
"I understand it’s a scary thing to let something new into your body, but if it’s gonna help protect one person as well as yourself and your family, why not do it," Berger, a registered nurse who got her first shot July 1 at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital in Clinton Township, said in a video that aired during the announcement.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer kicked off the first round of the $50,000 daily drawing winners Wednesday. They are a part of nearly $5 million in cash prizes and college scholarships in a sweepstakes to provide incentives to Michiganders to get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible this summer, and to reach state and national goals of a 70% vaccination rate for those age 16 and older.
Just over 5 million Michiganders, or 62.4% of the population age 16 and older, had received at least one dose of vaccine as of Tuesday, according to the state's vaccine dashboard.
As of early Wednesday, nearly 1.8 million Michiganders had entered the sweepstakes since it began July 1. There have been more than 181,000 new signups since Sunday, according to the Protect Michigan Commission.
The commission said 80,328 Michiganders age 12 to 17 have signed up for the drawing for nine, four-year college scholarships.
"Thank you for getting your shot and doing your part," Whitmer said during the virtual announcement, where University of Michigan softball coach Carol Hutchins and Protect Michigan Commission Director Kerry Ebersole Singh announced the winning names.
Hutchins announced Berger as the first winner and thanked Berger's husband, Andrew, a Roseville police lieutenant, for his service.
Berger, who described herself as a wife, mother, daughter, sister and aunt, said she got her vaccine for a couple of different reasons, including going on vacation and helping to keep everyone safe.
"I unfortunately know quite a few people that have been affected by COVID," she said in the video. "My husband was very sick and in the hospital with COVID. I have a very close friend and coworker who is still suffering over a year later with the effects of COVID. Also, I saw so many horrific things just working in the COVID units with it."
Hutchins said Berger wasn't aware of the sweepstakes when she got vaccinated, so this "is a terrific surprise" and will provide Berger and her husband peace of mind when they go to Cancun in September.
Ackerman got his shot July 3 at a CVS Pharmacy in Detroit in part because he was tired of wearing a mask, said Hutchins, who earlier added that as of July 6 more than half of the U-M students planning to attend classes on the Ann Arbor campus this fall are reporting they are fully vaccinated.
In a video, Ackerman said he didn't have any immediate plans for the money and the windfall came as a surprise.
"I'm happy I got vaccinated," he said. "I'm safe, keeping my family safe, and now look, won some money. So, Michigan let's all go out there and get vaccinated so we can go back to a better Michigan."
Singh said Lee is a retired General Motors factory worker who received her shot July 4 at the Family Fare Pharmacy in Wyoming.
She said the sweepstakes enticed Lee to get the vaccine. She said Lee now wishes she had gotten her shot sooner and wants her second dose because of concern about the delta variant, of which 54 cases had been identified in Michigan as of Tuesday, according to state data.
Singh said Lee is a mother of three, a grandmother of five and has two great-grandchildren and is advising her family and friends to get inoculated. Lee plans to use her prize money for a down payment on a new house, Singh said.
"I know she will never forget this year's Fourth of July celebration," she said of Lee.
Singh said Peterson got her first shot July 2 and shared with organizers that she, too, plans to use her winnings to buy a new house.
Whitmer said she knows it's tempting for Michiganders to celebrate right now because the state has been moving forward as coronavirus cases and deaths have declined.
"If you’ve not gotten your shot yet, the virus is still a very real threat to you," she said. "Right now, the delta variant is highly infectious and it’s in the United States and here in Michigan. So, if you have your shots, you’re confident and you can relax knowing you’re protected against this variant and others detected thus far. If you’ve not gotten it, know that this variant is to be taken seriously.
"And we hope that you will get your shot and register for your shot to win. Let’s keep our loved ones safe and let’s keep moving forward together.”
In addition to 30 daily prizes of $50,000 and the scholarships, there is a $1 million prize and a $2 million prize. The sweepstakes continues through Aug. 3.
The daily $50,000 drawing will be for adult Michiganders who receive a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine between July 1 and July 30.
Adult residents also have a chance to win a $1 million drawing if they got a first dose of vaccine between Dec. 1 and July 10. The $2 million drawing is open to any adult Michigander who received a first dose of vaccine between Dec. 1 and July 30.
However, those who volunteered for clinical trials of the vaccines and got their first dose before Dec. 1 won't have a chance to win the cash prizes and scholarships. That potentially excludes thousands of Michiganders who took part in vaccine studies that started as early as August 2020.
Active and nonactive military from Michigan are eligible to enter even if they are stationed abroad as long as their vaccine status has been reported to the Michigan Care Improvement Registry (MCIR).
If an enlisted person gets a vaccine through Veterans Affairs or while deployed, they should call their local health department or personal physician to ensure the registry is updated.
For the scholarships, the teens and tweens must have received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine between Dec. 1 and July 30. The Michigan Education Trust (MET) Charitable Tuition Program contracts are valued at $55,000 each.
The sweepstakes is one way to boost COVID-19 vaccinations, which have been waning.
Vice President Kamala Harris visited Detroit on Monday, in part to urge residents to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
The city of Detroit has among the lowest rates in the state, while Oakland County announced Tuesday that it is less than 1% away from hitting the 70% vaccination mark for its residents.
Only 39% of Detroiters age 12 and older had received at least one dose of vaccine as of Monday. Just over 32% are considered fully vaccinated, according to state data.
Michigan's vaccine lottery was announced later than other states' lottery incentives. It is operated by Meijer and the state is providing a grant for the program, funded by federal COVID-19 relief dollars.
Eligible Michiganders can register for the sweepstakes online at mishottowin.com or by calling 888-535-6136 (press 1) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Staff writer Kristen Jordan Shamus contributed to this report.
Contact Christina Hall: email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter: @challreporter.
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