(WSYM) — A $2 million cash prize is on the line in the state's vaccination sweepstakes. The winner will be selected later this month. The remaining $50,000 cash prizes as well as the nine scholarship winners will be announced next Wednesday.
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Registration may be closed now, but the state says 2.5 million people entered the MI Shot to Win Sweepstakes, the Protect Michigan Commission which oversees the contest says they've received entries from every county in the state.
The basic qualification: you must have been vaccinated between December 1 and July 10 in order to have been in the running. It's suffice to say with so many entrants, the winning names weren't pulled from a hat.
"There were a few different vendor contracts that worked in this lottery space ... creating a randomization of those that opted in for the contest," said Kerry Ebersole Singh, director of the Protect Michigan Commission, a commission formed to combat COVID-19 in our state.
Singh says Meijer is in charge of making the selections with random raffle-style drawings, a digital process, and then verifies a winner's vaccination status.
Accounting firm Ernst & Young helps with the validating process.
A spokesman for Meijer says the company "Promo Watch LLC" is used to manage the sweepstakes.
The $1 million winner
When asked whether the sweepstakes has been successful, Singh said, "I think it has." She referenced data compiled by the commission, showing the first doses administered over the length of the contest.
"We have increased first dose vaccinations each week during the month of July, and July is the hardest month to get folks vaccinated," she said.
Singh cites vacations and people being more active outdoors as adding to the challenge of getting shots in arms. That's on top of the challenge of boosting vaccinated numbers in areas like Detroit.
We asked people on the street their take on the sweepstakes.
"You shouldn't try to trick people into doing things. I don't think it's fair. I don't think it's right. And I feel like it's targeted more to the urban community," said local resident Key.
Collin Curtis says he thinks the sweepstakes were a good idea.
"It's important. People are dying. I watched people die at my work. So I think it's really important to be able to have people be safe," said Curtis.
"We gotta just continue our work. We're not there yet, and there are lots of threats of this virus around us with the new variants," said Singh.
The Protect Michigan Commission says August 18 is when the $2 million grand prize winner will be announced.