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Washington introduces COVID-19 vaccine lottery with $1 million jackpot, other cash prizes

Vaccinated Washington residents don’t need to do anything to enter. The lottery will gather names from the Department of Health’s statewide immunization database.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Vaccinated Washington residents will be eligible for the state’s vaccine lottery with a $1 million jackpot, along with other cash prizes and giveaways, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Thursday. 

All Washington residents vaccinated against COVID-19 are immediately eligible for the drawing. The Washington State Lottery will gather names from the Department of Health’s statewide immunization database. 

The vaccine lottery is part of a push to get 70% of Washington residents to begin the vaccination process, so the state can fully reopen before June 30.

“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 reopen even sooner than June 30th if we can stay motivated, stay informed and get more people vaccinated faster throughout the month of June.” 

Vaccinated residents in the state's database will be assigned a number by the Department of Health. Starting on Tuesday, June 8, the Washington State lottery will use a random number generator system to conduct two drawings, one for Washington residents over the age of 18, and one for residents between the ages of 12 and 17 who will be eligible to win one year of college tuition with the Guaranteed Education Tuition program.

The state will conduct one drawing for $250,000 every week for four weeks, and there will be an additional drawing for the $1 million prize on July 13. 

An additional $1 million will be dispersed directly to public four-year universities and two-year community and technical colleges to run their own drawings for free tuition and expenses for vaccinated students.

Microsoft will give away 300 Xboxs and GamePasses to vaccinated individuals. Nintendo will give away Nintendo Switches, Google will give away 25 Google Nests and Amazon will give away 40 echo dots. 

Vaccinated residents will also be eligible to win two free airline tickets to anywhere Alaska Airlines flies and tickets to Seattle sports teams. 

The Washington State Department of Commerce and the Association of Washington Businesses and local Chambers of Commerce will be purchasing gift cards to local businesses to be given away at vaccine locations. 

The Washington State Department of Health will also be giving away $500,000 in gift cards over the summer as part of the Care-A-Van mobile vaccination effort. The gift cards will be for different kinds of retail offerings. 

All individuals who were previously vaccinated are eligible for the giveaways. The incentives are open to all Washington residents regardless of citizenship, but proof of residency is required. Employees working at the Office of the Governor, the Washington State Lottery and the Department of Health and their households are not eligible for the giveaway. 

Ohio was the first state to introduce a $1 million jackpot, alongside scholarships and other cash prizes for vaccinated individuals. Ohio health officials found there was an increase in vaccinations in Ohio residents 16 years of age and older after the lottery was announced.