In this Jan. 27, 2021, Associated Press file photo, Yvonne Gibbs, 72, receives Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine, at the TCF Center in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio File) COVID-19 Vaccines in Michigan
In this Jan. 27, 2021, Associated Press file photo, Yvonne Gibbs, 72, receives Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine, at the TCF Center in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio File)

More than 30 people won large sums of money. Over 2.4 million signed up for a life-saving vaccination. To the state of Michigan, that means the MI Shot To Win Sweepstakes was a success. 

LANSING, Mich.—Jacqueline Paul hung up when the state of Michigan first called to tell her she’d won $50,000 through Michigan’s MI Shot To Win Sweepstakes. She thought the call was a scam. 

But it wasn’t. Now, Paul, who four years ago was diagnosed with Graves’ disease—an immune system disorder resulting in the overproduction of thyroid hormones—said she has a way to pay for her medical bills. 

“I had hoped to be surgery-free this year, but now I have another operation scheduled for September,” Paul said Monday. She said she’s had four surgeries since her diagnosis.

“I wanted to get vaccinated for COVID-19 because my mother’s getting older and her and my brothers often come to visit me, and I don’t want to do anything that would jeopardize their health or anybody else’s,” she said. 

Paul was one of several winners from across the state, many of whom mentioned their plans for spending the winnings included paying off college tuition for themselves or their children, remodeling their homes, or giving to charity. 

But more than increasing the number in some Michiganders’ bank accounts, the state said it was most interested in increasing the number of residents vaccinated against the coronavirus. 

It did both. 

State health officials said that vaccination rates dipped during the summer months, but that wasn’t the case in Michigan. The MI Shot to Win Sweepstakes helped the state reverse that trend right before Michigan was hit by the fast-spreading Delta variant of the virus. 

The state reported a week-to-week increase for first dose COVID-19 vaccinations throughout the month of July, with nearly 29,000 first doses administered over the course of the first week of July and more than 42,000 administered during the last week of the month, according to Michigan health officials. 

More than 2.4 million Michiganders signed up for the cash prize portion of the sweepstakes while more than 106,000 younger Michiganders signed up for a chance to win scholarship money. 

Michigan saw a vaccination rate increase of 61% to 63% thanks to the sweepstakes, health authorities said. A month later, the state’s vaccination rate stands north of 65%, growing closer to its goal of 70%. 

“But our work is not done. We are going to keep making efforts to reach people where they are, answer their questions and help them get their shots,” Whitmer said Monday. “If we work together, I know we can get this done and continue our economic jumpstart.” 

The lottery-style raffle gave fully vaccinated Michiganders who signed up for the sweepstakes the chance to win more than $5 million in cash and nearly $500,000 in college scholarships for younger residents.