LANSING, Mich. (Great Lakes News) – The Whitmer Administration is offering Michiganders a gimmick to get their COVID-19 vaccine: a sweepstakes that gives them a chance to win $5 million in cash and a combined total of nearly $500,000 in college scholarships.

The “MI Shot to Win Sweepstakes” begins today, July 1, and ends on Aug. 3, 2021. More information can be found at mishottowin.com.

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The sweepstakes allows residents at least 18 years of age or older to register for a combined total of $5 million in cash giveaways if they’ve received at least one dose of the vaccine.

“It’s also a great way to encourage more Michiganders to get the safe and effective vaccine so you can protect yourself, your family, and help get life back to normal,” said Whitmer in a Thursday morning press conference. “If we all roll up our sleeves and do our part, we can all win big.”

Whitmer’s announcement comes after her failed “MI Vacc to Normal” plan quickly plateaued. That plan tied reopening the state to several benchmarks, including getting the number of vaccinated residents to 70 percent.

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Currently, close to 62 percent of the state’s eligible residents are vaccinated.

The $5 million behind the sweepstakes initiative comes from federal relief money that the Legislature has already allocated for the state’s COVID-19 response, according to Kerry Ebersole Singh, director of the Protect Michigan Commission.

Whitmer kept repeating that the sweepstakes is “powered by Meijer” and supported by several other organizations.

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When a reporter asked whether this sweepstakes could be considered a bribe since a state law prohibits Michigan from offering a lottery to increase vaccinations, Whitmer said Michigan’s gaming laws allow the sweepstakes, and the program mirrors a similar one in Ohio.

In addition, Whitmer said she asked Michigan lawmakers to allow a sweepstakes here but when they declined, “we pursued other vehicles for doing this.”

Rich Studley with the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, who’s been an outspoken critic of Gov. Whitmer for the last 15 months, spoke at the press conference. He said he has full confidence in Whitmer and her team to execute the raffle.