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Eligibility, database issues and more: Washington vaccine lottery questions answered

Are veterans eligible? After someone gets vaccinated, when do they become eligible? Here's what you need to know about the Washington vaccine lottery.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Washington is set to draw the first winner of the state’s “Shot of a Lifetime” COVID-19 vaccine lottery on Tuesday, but questions remain about who is eligible and the process for the drawings. 

There will be four weekly drawings for $250,000 and one lucky Washington resident will win a $1 million grand prize. Residents are automatically entered into the drawing if they have received at least one COVID-19 vaccination and are in the state Department of Health (DOH) vaccine database. 

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions. 

Are veterans eligible for the vaccine lottery? 

If a veteran got vaccinated through the Department of Veterans Affairs, there is not complete information about whether they are eligible. According to Washington state officials, some VA records are not currently in their database. 

In regards to veterans, the federal government gets data from the Department of Defense (DoD), Veterans Affairs (VA), Bureau of Prisons, and potentially a few other sources of vaccines allocated directly from the federal government that do not get shared with the Washington State Department of Health (DOH).

RELATED: 'We're excluded': Spokane veterans not eligible for Gov. Inslee's vaccine incentive lottery

How do you check the state database?

If you want to check your records to see if your name is in the database, DOH officials say the best way to do that is through the records website. You can also check your records over the phone, by calling 833-VAX-HELP (833-829-4357). Read more.

What should you do if your records do not show up in the Washington database?

A spokesperson for DOH said there may be times phone numbers or emails are not sent to the system. 

The spokesperson said not having an immediate match in the database that does not mean they will not be in there eventually. Healthcare providers have 72 hours to share their information with the DOH. There are a couple of ways to check all of your vaccination records on the DOH website. Read more here.

DOH released the following statement via email on Tuesday about the challenges residents have faced while trying to confirm their vaccination records:

"[The Washington State Department of Health] understands that some people have experienced obstacles as they try to access their vaccination records via MyIR. Currently, the best way to get help with MyIR is by calling the state hotline at 833-VAX-HELP. Trained hotline specialists can help callers access their MyIR account and get them the information they need. Once callers dial 833-VAX-HELP, they can verify or connect to their COVID-19 vaccination records with the help of a specialist.

The state hotline is managing a high volume of calls. For callers who do not prefer to wait on hold, the best option is to call back at a later time. Our state hotline continues to add more staff to enhance customer services. As a reminder, if you got vaccinated today, providers have up to 72 hours to transmit that info to our system. If you do not see your information immediately, please continue to check. If you do not see your information after 3 business days, please contact your vaccine provider."

Are people who got vaccinated on Native American reservations eligible? 

Washington honors a government-to-government relationship between each Tribe and the state government.

Some Tribal nations enter information into the Immunization Information System (IIS) and others do not, the DOH said.

"We respect each Tribe’s authority to protect the health and welfare of its people. Each Tribal nation has its own plan, and those plans reflect needs and considerations unique to their individual jurisdictions," the DOH wrote in an email to KREM on Monday.  

Will Washington work to get vaccine records for Idaho and Oregon?

Right now, only Washington residents who were vaccinated in the state are eligible for the drawings.

Washington does not currently share data with Oregon or Idaho but the DOH is in the process of workings with their ISS teams to determines the best way to do this, according to the email sent on Monday. These efforts will take some time, the DOH added.  

When do you have to get vaccinated to be eligible for the vaccine lottery?

According to the Washington State Lottery, you must be in the Washington State Immunization Information System by 11:59 p.m. the Sunday before the drawing date to be included in that week’s lottery. 

When will winners be drawn? 

Washington State Lottery officials will use a random number generator between 9-11 a.m. on the day of the drawing to come up with a list of potential winners. The list will then be forwarded to the DOH to match the number with the appropriate name. 

The DOH will then forward the list to Washington State Lottery officials, who will begin contacting winners by phone or email, based on immunization records. 

Five drawings will be held for vaccinated adults:

  • June 8
  • June 15
  • June 22
  • June 29
  • July 13

RELATED: Gearing up for the first vaccine lottery: How Washington will pick winners

If you have any questions about the lottery, email newstips@krem.com or text questions to 509-448-2000.