Today, Gov. Jay Inslee announced new incentives to help encourage unvaccinated Washingtonians to get a COVID vaccination shot.
According to Inslee, 2.3 million people in the state have yet to initiate a vaccine – having received their first shot of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or received a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine- even though the state is on track to re-open at the end of June.
As part of the incentive promotion, The Washington State Lottery will conduct a “Shot of a Lifetime” giveaway series during the month of June, working with state agencies, technology companies, sports teams and higher education institutions across the state to offer a myriad of different prizes to vaccinated individuals.
These incentives include:
• Lottery cash drawings, with prizes totaling $2 million
• Higher education tuition and expense assistance
• Sports tickets and gear
• Gift cards
• Airline tickets
• Game systems and smart speakers
“We are doing this because we know it works,” says Inslee. “We’re still losing a dozen lives a day in Washington, and we know we can do better.”
“These generous programs will encourage more Washingtonians to take this life-saving vaccine,” Inslee said during a press conference Thursday. “I hope people will see this as an opportunity to re-open even sooner than June 30th if we can stay motivated, stay informed and get more people vaccinated faster throughout the month of June.”
According to the Department of Health (DOH), approximately 63% of Washingtonians 16 years and older have initiated their vaccinations. The state hopes that the incentives announced today will entice unvaccinated people to initiate their vaccinations and raise the statewide rate to save more lives and protect more people.
Washington is set to reopen fully on June 30, or when the percentage of eligible adults who have initiated vaccination reaches 70%, whichever comes first.
Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah said that he hopes incentives unveiled today help push Washington closer to the 70% reopening goal.
“Our state has made tremendous progress, with well over half of our population 16 and older fully vaccinated, but there are still far too many people who have not started vaccination,” Shah said. “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.”
Starting next week, the Lottery will conduct one drawing for $250,000 every week for four weeks for all vaccinated individuals. At the end of the four weeks, there will be an additional, final drawing for a $1 million prize.
Vaccinated Washingtonians don’t need to do anything to be entered in the four drawings. The Lottery will automatically gather names from the DOH statewide immunization database.
Marcus Glasper, director of the Washington State Lottery, is excited that the lottery will play a role in helping to end the pandemic.
“Washington’s Lottery is proud to partner with the Governor’s Office and the Department of Health on this important promotion,” Glasper said. “As the state’s principal agency on conducting lottery drawings, we are honored to be able to play even a small role in administering a promotion that helps ensure that our state’s residents are healthy and protected as we continue to move towards ending the pandemic.”
In addition to the lottery incentives, Inslee also announced a suite of higher education incentives, including tuition and book assistance at institutions across the state.
Nearly $1 million will be dispersed directly to the public four-year universities and two-year community and technical colleges to run their own drawing for free tuition and expenses for vaccinated students.
The state will also be offering 30 prizes of one year of tuition college credits to 12–17-year-olds through the Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET program). These credits will go directly to families.
Additional prizes include airline tickets, tickets to professional sporting events, and game systems and smart speakers provided by local technology companies like Microsoft, Nintendo and Amazon.
If you or a loved one has yet to get vaccinated, you can make an appointment at VaccineLocator.doh.wa.gov.
All vaccine incentive prizes will be drawn from the DOH immunization database to determine winners. The only action that Washingtonians need to take to win any of the prizes is to get vaccinated. All individuals who have been previously vaccinated are eligible.
The incentives are open to all Washington residents regardless of citizenship, but proof of Washington residency is required.
Employees currently working at the Office of the Governor, Washington State Lottery and Department of Health and their households are not eligible for these incentives.
“Choices have consequences. The vaccine is our best and safest chance to get back to pre-pandemic levels of activity,” Inslee said. “It is a personal choice, but one that affects the lives of millions. The choices we make affect our neighbors, our friends and our families. So, I hope more people make the right choice, to learn more about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, and to get vaccinated.”