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Okemos Vaccine Sweepstakes Winner Sees Health, Family As Real Prize

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Spectrum Health
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More than 2.4 million people have participated in the MI Shot To Win Sweepstakes since it was launched July 1.

An Okemos man who once doubted the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine has won $50,000 in a state vaccination sweepstakes.

Brandon Ebright was a vaccine skeptic.

Earlier this year, he started feeling signs of what he thought was just allergies.

Doctors advised Ebright’s wife to get tested for COVID when his young daughter came down with similar symptoms.

She was positive.

Ebright began to reconsider his feelings about the vaccine.

Brandon Ebright
Courtesy Brandon Ebright
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Brandon Ebright of Okemos recently won $50,000 as part of the MI Shot To Win Sweepstakes.

“I just felt like, man…I did this to them,” he recalled. “I couldn’t really forgive myself, and maybe we could’ve done something different to change the effect of what was going on if I would’ve just listened.”

Ebright quarantined for two weeks, then had to wait three months to get his shot.

I just felt like, man...I did this to them.
Brandon Ebright

On the day of his vaccination, he threw his name into the "MI Shot To Win" sweepstakes.

He later found out he’d won $50,000.

Ebright says it's a blessing.

“Even though it’s $50,000 (and) a lot of people might say it looks small, but it changed my life, really,” he said.

Now, Ebright encourages everyone to get their vaccine. Not for a monetary reward, he says, but to avoid experiencing the illness he and his family did.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the program with business, health and nonprofit leaders on July 1.

The “MI Shot to Win Sweepstakes” came after other states offered millions of dollars in incentives to boost vaccination rates.

Whitmer said she took inspiration from state officials in neighboring Ohio, who were able to increase vaccination rates significantly among younger people with a similar sweepstakes.

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