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State hopes cash and prizes will motivate people to get COVID vaccine

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Office of the Governor
Shot of a Lifetime promotional graphic

A chance at winning a $1 million jackpot or a $250,000 prize. Tuition assistance, airline tickets, gaming systems and gift cards. Those are just some of the incentives announced Thursday to entice more Washington residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Gov. Jay Inslee introduced the "Shot of a Lifetime" campaign and prizes at a news conference with health officials and state Lottery Director Marcus Glasper. 

Now, why are we doing this? It's because we know it works. It's working well in other states," Inslee said at the news conference. "This is a very, very common sense investment to save lives. We're still losing a dozen lives or so a day in the state of Washington. We know we can do better.” 

“Shot of a Lifetime” will run into mid-July. 

Glasper says if you have at least one COVID-19 shot on record with the state, you’ll get a lottery number.  

“This means you do not have to go anywhere or do anything except get at least one vaccine dose, if you have not already done so, to be entered into these drawings,” he explained. 

More details about the giveaways can be found here.

Several other states, including Oregon and California, and some businesses have recently announced lotteries in hopes of boosting vaccine rates. Ohio was the first state to do so and saw a 45 percent uptick after launching its “Vax-a-Million” lottery in mid-May.

Inslee's goal is to have Washington fully reopened on June 30, but it could be sooner if 70 percent of residents get their first shot. Right now that number is at 63 percent.

Right now, we’re short by nearly 450,000 people. That’s about equal to everyone living in Spokane, Tacoma and Tukwila combined. 

Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah hopes the incentives will push Washington closer to that 70 percent 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.

Not vaccinated and want in on the "Shot of a Lifetime"? You can make an appointment at VaccineLocator.doh.wa.gov.

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