Michigan announces $1M vaccine sweepstakes winner
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The 51-year-old winner of $1 million in Michigan’s COVID-19 vaccine sweepstakes said Wednesday that she plans to spend some of her winnings on her daughter’s college tuition.
In a public announcement over Zoom, LaTonda Anderson, of Grand Blanc, said she also plans to tithe a portion of her winnings. Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II and former “Saturday Night Live” star Tim Meadows also participated in the video announcement.
The state launched the sweepstakes with $5 million in prizes including a $2 million jackpot, the $1 million prize announced Wednesday and daily $50,000 winners through July 30 to encourage residents to get vaccinated. As of Wednesday, six daily drawing winners have been announced.
Two $50,000 winners also announced Wednesday are residents of Sterling Heights and Rockford.
The percentage of Michigan residents ages 16 or older who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine has gone up 0.3% since last Monday to 62.7%, according to a state health department news release. This means over 5 million Michigan residents have received a COVID-19 vaccine.
Gilchrist reiterated the state’s desire to hit a 70% vaccination rate by Labor Day, despite slow daily growth in the state’s numbers. Aside from the vaccine sweepstakes, Michigan has sent mobile vaccination units to communities that otherwise don’t have access in hopes of motivating residents to get their shots and help the state reach its goal, he said.
Over 2 million Michigan residents have entered the sweepstakes and 90,000 12- to 17-year-olds have applied to win nine $55,000 scholarships, according to the state.
Michigan’s most recent COVID-19 case numbers have remained significantly lower than earlier months in the year with a seven-day average of 302 new daily cases as of Tuesday, according to the state health department.
However, the seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Michigan has risen over the past two weeks from 171 new cases per day on July 5 to 306 as of Monday.
As concerns over the more contagious delta variant grow, Gilchrist implored Michigan residents to get vaccinated and keep loved ones safe from the more deadly strain.
Anna Liz Nichols is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Nichols reported from Lansing.