LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s weekly number of people getting an initial COVID-19 shot rose for the third straight week after having consistently dropped for two months.

The increase coincided with the spread of the delta variant — the most contagious coronavirus mutant yet — and a $5 million state sweepstakes designed to incentivize vaccinations.

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There were about 41,000 first-dose immunizations last week, the most since the week of June 13-19. Fewer people were vaccinated in July than in June — roughly 192,000 vs. approximately 167,000 — but officials said vaccination rates always are lower in the middle of the summer.

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“The truth is that every single day when a certain number of people get vaccinated, the pool of people remaining by definition are harder to reach and harder to convince than those who made the decision before,” said Brian Calley, president of the Small Business Association of Michigan and a co-chair of the Protect Michigan Commission, which is targeting a 70% vaccination rate. “We have to work harder and harder to get an increasingly smaller number of people.”

The panel on Wednesday announced the latest winners of $50,000 prizes. Registration for the vaccine lottery ended Tuesday. More winners will be announced in the coming weeks.

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