Gov. Whitmer July 1

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announces a vaccine lottery system aimed to boost the state to 70% vaccinated. 

(The Center Square) – When Gov. Gretchen Whitmer placed a $5 million bet on a COVID-19 vaccine lottery, the goal was to increase Michigan’s vaccination rate by 9 percentage points – from 61.8% to break 70% by August 3.

Michigan stands at 63.5% as of July 30, having spent about $5 million for what appears less than a 2 percentage point increase, depending on weekend injection numbers. 

The nonpartisan Senate Fiscal Agency estimates Michigan won’t reach 70% (injecting an additional 524,600 vaccines) until Nov. 13, 2021, at a pace of 4,900 injections daily. Whitmer initially set that benchmark as the finish line to dropping COVID-19 restrictions.

Vaccination rates might slightly climb due to employer and college vaccination requirements. Michigan State University and the University of Michigan, along with several health care providers, announced mandatory vaccinations last week.

A Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) study published in the Journal of American Medical Association network concluded Ohio’s first-in-the-nation vaccine lottery failed.

“Prior evaluations of the Ohio vaccine incentive lottery did not account for other changes in Covid-19 vaccination rates in the United States, such as those that may have been due to expansion of vaccination to ages 12-15," Allan J. Walkey, MD, senior author of the study and professor of medicine and physician at BUSM, said in a statement.

However, Michigan continued its lottery despite negative lottery results in Ohio.

“Our results suggest that state-based lotteries are of limited value in increasing vaccine uptake,” Walkey said. “Therefore, the resources devoted to vaccine lotteries may be more successfully invested in programs that target underlying reasons for vaccine hesitancy and low vaccine uptake.”

Staff Reporter

Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.