Report: Gretchen Whitmer’s Taxpayer-Funded Vaccine Raffle Gimmick ‘Fails’

Governor Gretchen Whitmer speaks during press conference at Troy Babes in Toyland in Troy
Rodney Coleman-Robinson via Imagn Content Services, LLC

An analysis conducted by the Center Square of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) coronavirus vaccine raffle gimmick is that it was a failure.

Whitmer attempted to copy Ohio, which also incentivized the vaccinated by making them eligible to receive one of several major cash prizes.

Whitmer’s administration used over $5 million in taxpayer dollars to give away $2 million, $1 million, and daily $50,000 prizes as a means to boost faltering vaccination rates. The governor’s goal was to achieve a 70 percent rate by the end of the contest.

The Center Square noted she failed:

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.

Despite failing to achieve its goal, Whitmer was able to use the gimmick to change the subject from her scandals and grab positive headlines that included exuberant winners detailing how they would spend their prizes.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services produced broadcasts akin to Publishers Clearing House, which is known for “surprising” winners on their doorstep with a giant check.

A study of the Ohio scheme found no difference in the growth of vaccination rates after the creation of its raffle.

“The study did not find evidence that a lottery-based incentive in Ohio was associated with increased rates of adult COVID-19 vaccinations,” the study authors wrote, according to the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.

“In contrast, the analyses suggest that the rate of decline in vaccinations slowed to a greater extent in the US than in Ohio after the May 12 lottery announcement.”

The Center Square noted vaccination rates might “slightly climb due to employer and college vaccination requirements.”

The legislature is considering bills that would ban vaccination mandates but has taken no action on the measures.


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