'Take your shot'; 9 more Michiganders score daily COVID-19 vaccine lottery prizes

"The only thing I can say is don't wait. Take your shot. Literally, take your shot."

That was Johnathon Barrow, a resident of Traverse City who got his COVID-19 vaccine shot on July 8.

Barrow, a father of two kids first pointed to the mask-wearing as a reason he was ready to get the vaccine. But he also said he had a family friend die of the virus, saying it "changes your whole outlook on life."

"This whole pandemic, the way people see it as ‘oh what’s going to happen to us' and not thinking about the part they could play to make it easier to transition for everyone."

Barrow was among nine more Michigan residents that scored the $50,000 daily lottery winnings that were announced Tuesday afternoon. It was also the third announcement that Michigan health officials have made.

"Just take the leap. Do it," said Erika Smith, a Flint resident and manager cashier. 

Smith was convinced to get the shot at Meijer after it was recommended by her OBGYN that both she and her soon-to-be newborn would be safe. 

Both Smith and Barrow have children they plan to support with the cash prizes.

Other winners of the COVID-19 vaccine lottery were residents of West Bloomfield, Detroit, Dearborn Heights, Grand Rapids, Allegan, and Holland.

That includes Majid Al-hacham, whose wife accepted the award on his behalf because he was working as a truck driver.

"To be honest, we didn't expect one of us to win the prize and it was a great beautiful surprise for us," she said. "Covid-19 has impacted us just like many families around the world. My cousin died last month because of this virus and he was just 34 years old."

In keeping with the Protect Michigan Commission's process, the zoom call included well-known figures from Michigan. Tuesday's stream included Norman Korpi, a cast member from the Real World and resident of the Upper Peninsula, as well as Vivian Zhong, the Miss Michigan 2021 winner and a resident of Northville.

Last week, Kerry Ebersole-Singh, director of the commission, awarded LaTonda Anderson, a 51-year-old resident from Grand Blac the $1 million prize. She told audiences six days ago she and her husband had gotten the shot back in March - at a time when vaccine rates were at their highest.

It hasn't been easy moving the needle since. The monthly average for newly-administered vaccines since the lottery began has in the tens of thousands - far from the hundreds of thousands being reported weekly in April. 

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Officials had hoped the lottery would help boost administration. Ebersole-Singh did mention during last week's zoom that one of the reasons rates remained low beyond the hesitation and skepticism angles already reported, is that vaccination rates are just lower in the summer for everyone.

Currently, 63.2% of the state has at least one shot. 

This third installment of coronavirus vaccine lottery winners comes at a new phase for the pandemic. COVID-19 vaccines are available everywhere. Oakland County, one of Michigan's most populated reported recently to becoming the second jurisdiction to reach the 70% threshold. 

Vaccines are also proving to be an effective tool at reducing the severest of outcomes from the coronavirus. 

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Evidence of that dynamic is beginning to trickle out of the Covid wards of hospitals which are almost entirely filled with patients that did not receive the vaccine before getting infected.

Yet, Michigan's coronavirus numbers are beginning to tick back up. So are the numbers for the rest of the country. 

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a new recommendation that vaccinated people wear a mask in some places. Unvaccinated people are already recommended to wear a mask when indoors.