WEST MICHIGAN — MICHIGAN - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is calling the state’s MI Shot to Win sweepstakes an “outstanding success” after she announced the final round of winners on Monday.
According to Whitmer’s office, Michigan recorded week-to-week increases for first dose vaccinations throughout July during the contest.
- July 4-10 28,000 first doses administered
- July 11-17 30,000 first doses administered
- July 18-24 35,000 first doses administered
- July 25-30 41,000 first doses administered
At the beginning of July, Whitmer and state partners launched the program with the hopes that cash prizes upwards of $2 million and college tuition valued at $55,000 would incentivize Michiganders ages 12 and older to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Alyssa Armstrong, a Caledonia mother, was one of the final MI Shot to Win Daily Drawing winners. She received $50,000 and plans to use it as a down payment on a home.
“We’re so cramped in this little trailer,” Armstrong said. “I want to have my own space. My kids are going to have their own rooms, a yard. They always complain we don’t have a yard.”
Armstrong was vaccinated at the end of July after giving birth to her son. She says her children’s safety motivated her to get the shot.
“I would’ve got it as soon as it came out, but I was pregnant at the time and I was really torn,” Armstrong said. “Being a mom, I want to protect my kids who are too young to get vaccinated, especially a baby. His immune system isn’t fully developed yet, so I want to protect him from getting COVID.”
Josiah DeBaets, who won a scholarship, said he wanted to take care of others too. He was fully vaccinated just after his summer break started.
“As a kid with prior asthma and a brother asthma, we thought just for the health of him and our family it was just a wise decision,” said Sarah DeBaets, Josiah’s mom. “For the good of the whole community. I think the more we can do this, the better we can be as a community.”
The Forest Hills Eastern sophomore plans to study at Ferris State University in a few years.
“I’ve heard that they have a really good pharmacy program and that’s something that interests me,” Josiah DeBaets said.
During Monday’s conference, Michigan officials said since MI Shot to Win started, first dose vaccinations increased 55 percent.
According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Kent County administered 2,153 first dose vaccinations in the week ending on July 10. By the end of the month, during the week ending on July 31, the county had administered 3,352 doses.
However, the total number of first dose vaccinations fell short when compared to the total number administered in June. In July, a total of 10,717 COVID-19 vaccines were given for the first time versus 13,235 doses in the month prior.
It’s a similar trend for other West Michigan counties, like Ottawa, Allegan, and Kalamazoo.
Whether MI Shot to Win actually impacted those numbers, it’s winners hope hearing the “why” from people like them helps everyone move forward from the pandemic.
“We want to get Michigan up to that 70 percent vaccinated,” Josiah DeBaetes said. “I want people to take care of themselves and stay safe.”