Washington announces COVID vaccine lotteryJune 7, 2021
Starting next week, Washington will be the latest state to pay people in cash, gift cards, and plane tickets to roll up their arms for a COVID-19 vaccination.
Gov. Jay Inslee broke the news during a virtual Thursday briefing. Joining Inslee was Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah and Marcus Glasper, director of the Washington State Lottery.
Following in the footsteps of states like Oregon and New York, Washington will be starting a vaccine lottery, dubbed “Shot of a Lifetime,” for anyone who got at least one dose of a COVID vaccine.
“We hope this effort encourages people to get their vaccine to protect themselves and their communities as we push toward reopening at the end of this month,” Shah said.
For each of the next four weeks, the state will draw the name of a vaccine recipient for a $250,000 prize. By the end of June, the state will hold a drawing for a $1 million grand prize.
Any Washingtonian who got their shot is entered to win. The state lottery will randomly choose names from the Washington Department of Health’s statewide immunization database. Based on current vaccination rates, the odds of winning the million dollar prize are 1-in-4,350,908.
The state is also paying out $1 million to state universities and community colleges to hold lotteries for free tuition. Thirty drawings for prizes of one year’s tuition costs for vaccinated teens ages 12 to 17 will be held over the next 30 days.
A host of Washington-based companies plan to hold giveaways to vaccinated residents in the state. Sports teams, including the Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle Sounders, are giving away free season tickets. Alaska Airlines will also be giving away two free airline tickets anywhere it flies during the vaccine lottery. Microsoft and Nintendo will be giving away free video game consoles.
“These generous programs will encourage more Washingtonians to take this life-saving vaccine,” Inslee said. “I hope people will see this as an opportunity to reopen even sooner than June 30th if we can stay motivated, stay informed and get more people vaccinated faster throughout the month of June.”
The Department of Health reported that 63% of people in the state had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or about the national average. Another 47.2% of people are fully vaccinated. Inslee has set a date for the state’s full reopening when 70% of Washingtonians get at least one shot. He expects that could happen by the end of June.
Washingtonians looking to get a COVID vaccine shot can make an appointment at the DOH’s Vaccine Locator site.
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