The state of Michigan to offer $5 million as well as thousands in scholarships as an incentive for residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Michigan Gover Gretchen Whitmer announced a new program to incentivize state residents to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. According to Bridge Michigan, Whitmer revealed the details at a morning announcement in Lansing. The announcement was made during a press conference on Thursday, July 1 press conference.

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The “MI Shot to Win Sweepstakes,” will offer $5 million in cash and prizes as well as nine scholarships valued at $55,000 each. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced a similar program for Ohio residents back in May.

Under Michigan’s new sweepstakes, residents age 18 and older who have received one dose of vaccine are eligible to register for a combined total of $5 million in cash giveaways.

In addition, Michigan’s vaccine sweepstakes will offer the opportunity to win one of nine Scholarship Drawing prizes available to vaccinated Michiganders between ages 12-17 whose parents enter on their behalf. Each Scholarship Drawing prize consists of a four-year Michigan Education Trust (MET) charitable tuition contract (valued at $55,000) that may be used to pay for tuition and mandatory fees at a college or university in accordance with MET terms and conditions.

The sweepstakes begin today (July 1) and end on Aug. 3, 2021. Register and view eligibility requirements by clicking here.

The incentive program is expected to boost the lagging vaccination rate across the state. Just 45,000 are in the process of being fully vaccinated in the last three weeks compared to an average of 243,000 in early May.

More than 3.5 million people eligible for the vaccine have not gotten any doses of the as of yet. In some parts of Michigan, in both urban and rural areas, the vaccination rate is 20 to 30 percentage points below the state’s overall rate of 61.7 percent.

Governor Whitmer had previously said in May that Michigan's constitution prohibited the state from holding a lottery-style raffle as other states had begun announcing theirs. To get around the state's constitution, the sweepstakes giveaway is being put on by Meijer in partnership with the Michigan Association of United Ways and the State of Michigan. The statewide vaccine sweepstakes are supported by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Association of State Universities, Small Business Association of Michigan, Business Leaders of Michigan, the Protect Michigan Commission, and many more organizations.

The announcement comes as top state officials warn that Michigan faces a potential surge Delta variant, which has swiftly begun spreading across the state and is expected to become the dominant strain of COVID-19.

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