Despite months of outreach and $5M in giveaways, Michigan still not 70% vaccinated. Will we ever get there?

Posted at 8:31 AM, Aug 24, 2021

(WXYZ) — A lifesaving vaccine turned into a lottery ticket. Chistine Duval from Bloomfield Township now has $2 Million, all for getting vaccinated.

“Winning the MI Shot to Win grand prize will help us achieve all of our dreams,” Duval said.

The State of Michigan put $5 million in total up for grabs in the Michigan "Shot to Win" sweepstakes. At the end of the contest, Gov. Whitmer called it a success.

"Thanks to the efforts of so many and every Michigander who got their shot, the "MI Shot to Win" sweepstakes has been a success," Gov. Whitmer said. "In June we saw vaccinations decline week over week for that whole month, but the sweepstakes helped Michigan reverse that trend.”

During the one month the program ran, Michigan’s vaccination rate did increase slightly week after week, and increased overall from 61% to 63%. However, it still remains well short of the 70% goal. Doctors hope that the recent FDA approval will take us the rest of the way.

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“About 30% of the people who haven't gotten vaccinated yet have said once it's approved, they’ll get vaccinated," said Dr. Matthew Sims with Beaumont Health. "It's here now, so now we’ll see how many of those 30% move forward. Hopefully all of them. If we can get that, I think we have a real shot.”

State health officials say they’re also not done spreading the word. Gov. Whitmer says so far they've gone door to door to over 200,000 to encourage the vaccine.

"Some, through our public opinion research, have indicated that full approval from the FDA would be a mark towards moving them to get vaccinated,” said Kerry Ebersole- Singh, Director of the Project Michigan Commission. "We hope that it will propel us again towards that 70% goal.”

While the State isn’t requiring the vaccine, some of Michigan's largest universities are. Oakland University is now the latest to do so. They were one of the first to require vaccines for students living in campus housing, and are now requiring it for all students and staff just one week before the start of class.

“I feel like more people are just happy to be back on campus that they’ll do whatever they have to do to get back on campus,” said Oakland student Sinan Hamzic.

The school already required the vaccine to live on campus but is now making it mandatory for all students and staff after the FDA gave full approval.

“The purpose of mandates is because some people have yet to understand the value of these vaccines,” said Ora Pescovitz, President of Oakland University.

The school says their decision was based on rising cases of the delta variant, and not enough students choosing to get vaccinated.

“We had hoped that we could get people to voluntarily agree, and we continue to work to get people to understand the value,” President Pescovitz said.

Despite all the effort, the state still hasn’t reached its goal of 70%. Now with full FDA approval, they hope to get there soon.

“Our lottery was just one strategy we used to promote vaccinations," Gov. Whitmer said. "The work ahead is harder still, but we will get there.”