Sunday, June 13, 2021
66.0°F

State to reward vaccine recipients

by CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE
Staff Writer | June 4, 2021 1:00 AM

OLYMPIA — It’s quite an incentive. Get a COVID-19 vaccination and possibly win $1 million.

That’s what Gov. Jay Inslee announced at an online press conference Thursday with the Washington State Lottery’s “Shot of a Lifetime,” which will automatically enroll nearly everyone who has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“These incentives to bolster vaccination efforts are available to all who received or will get the vaccine,” Inslee said.

The goal is to push the state’s vaccination rate to 70% of everyone who is eligible, Inslee said, adding that if 70% is reached before June 30, the state will be able to reopen.

Currently, 63% of Washington residents have had “one shot at least,” Inslee said.

“I hope people will see this as an opportunity to reopen even sooner than June 30 if we can stay motivated, stay informed and get more people vaccinated throughout the month of June,” the governor said.

Beginning on Tuesday, the Washington State Lottery will conduct the first of five weekly drawings for cash prizes, tickets to sporting events, air travel, cash cards good for hunting and fishing licenses or to pay for camping at state parks, tuition assistance and video game consoles.

The grand prize during each of the first four weekly drawings will be $250,000. The grand prize in the final drawing July 13 will be $1 million.

According to Marcus Glasper, director of the Washington State Lottery, a number will be generated from every name on the State Department of Health’s vaccination list, and lottery officials will draw those rather than names.

Glasper also said two separate drawings will be held each Tuesday, one for adults ages 18 and older and one for newly eligible teens ages 16 and 17. The state lottery will award more than $2 million in cash prizes during the next five weeks in the drawings, as well as two tickets donated by Seattle-based Alaska Airlines, tickets to games of the Seattle Mariners, Sounders, Storm and Seahawks.

In addition, the Association of Washington Business and local chambers of commerce will purchase and give out $1 million in gift cards from local businesses to give away at vaccination sites statewide.

However, Inslee also said people who have been vaccinated through the U.S. Department of Defense or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are not currently in the state vaccination database, though state health officials are working “to solve that problem” and make veterans, members of the armed forces and their families eligible.

The governor also said the state will still reopen on June 30 even if the vaccination rate doesn’t reach 70%.

“We’re making progress, but we’ve got more progress to make,” Inslee said. “Good luck in the lottery. This is the most important one you’ll ever be in.”