OLYMPIA — Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 could net you $1 million in cash, among other prizes.
On Thursday, Gov. Jay Inslee announced the state’s “Shot of a Lifetime” campaign — a slew of incentives ranging from a $1 million lottery drawing to a suite at a Seattle Mariners game to a year of tuition credits at any college or university in the state.
“We’re making this investment today because we know every life in the state of Washington has value,” Inslee said at a news conference. “So I’m excited to announce these strong incentives that will bring the potential to save thousands of lives.”
Starting Tuesday, the Washington State Lottery will conduct a weekly drawing for $250,000 for four consecutive weeks. After that, there will be a drawing for $1 million.
After each drawing, Washington lottery staff will reach out to winners, who have 72 hours to accept their prize.
In addition to the $250,000, each drawing will include winners for other prizes, like Xbox consoles, Seahawks tickets, state park passes and college tuition credits.
“I think you get the picture that this is a tremendous statewide effort with multiple partners in this incentive package,” Inslee said.
The effort is part of a push to get at least 70% of Washington adults one vaccine shot ahead of June 30.
Inslee has said reaching that mark would enable him to drop most of the state’s pandemic restrictions before July. But vaccination rates are stalling, and Washington isn’t on pace to meet the goal early, public health officials said earlier this week.
So far, about 63% of Washington adults are at least partially vaccinated.
But more than 2 million eligible Washingtonians have yet to get a shot.
“I do encourage anyone who as any questions about this vaccine to ask your medical provider,” Inslee said. “Get it straight from the horse’s mouth on this. They’ll tell you what the real truth is about this vaccine.”
The incentives are open to all Washingtonians, regardless of citizenship status, though proof of residency is required.
The only action needed to be eligible for a prize is to be vaccinated. The names of winners will come from the state’s immunization database. All previously vaccinated people will be included in the chance to win prizes.
However, not all vaccination records are included in the state’s database. Those who have received a shot through a Veterans Affairs or Department of Defense clinic are not in the state database. The state is working on a way for those people to opt in to the Department of Health’s list, though it’s unclear when that will be available.
To check your status in the state’s database, visit myirmobile.com.
It’s unclear how much of the program is paid for by state dollars, versus money from federal relief packages. Those details are being ironed out by the state Office of Financial Management.
Inslee called the plan a common-sense investment that has been proven to work in other states.
Outside of the drawings, the state is dispersing nearly $1 million to public universities, community colleges and technical schools to administer their own drawings for free tuition and expenses.
Meanwhile, the state will work with the Association of Washington Business to distribute $1 million worth of gift cards at injection sites across the state.
The association will buy the gift cards, worth $50, and team with chambers of commerce to hand them out after people get vaccinated. Those already fully vaccinated are ineligible to receive a gift card.
The state Department of Health will also have $500,000 in gift cards to distribute throughout the summer as part of the Care-A-Van mobile vaccination effort.
In the past month, vaccine incentives have taken off nationwide.
West Virginia’s vaccine lottery includes custom hunting rifles, full-ride scholarships to colleges, trucks and a nearly $1.6 million grand prize.
California, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Oregon have similar programs.
President Joe Biden also announced a nationwide competition to see which mayors can boost their city’s vaccination rates the most.
So far, the mayors of Seattle, Spokane and Issaquah have signed up.
Private companies are getting involved, too.
On Wednesday, Anheuser-Busch said it will buy every vaccinated American 21 and older a beer if the country reaches 70% of adults with at least one shot by July 4.
Recipients would have to submit a photo of themselves “in their favorite place to grab a beer” to mycooler.com/beer to receive a $5 virtual credit card.
Grocery chain Kroger is giving away $1 million every week for five weeks to shoppers who get at least one of their shots at a Kroger-branded store or pharmacy. Kroger owns the Fred Meyer and QFC chains in Washington. The company is also giving 50 vaccine recipients free groceries for a year. To enter, visit krogergiveaway.com.
Herald writer Jerry Cornfield contributed to this report.
What you can win
• One drawing of $1 million.
• Four drawings of $250,000.
• 30 drawings for one year of college-tuition credits to 12 to 17 year-olds through Guaranteed Education Tuition.
• Two airline tickets to any Alaska Airlines destination.
• Four tickets to a Mariners game.
• A full suite at a Mariners game.
• Four tickets to a Seattle Sounders game in August, plus two autographed jerseys.
• 10 tickets to all remaining Seattle Storm games.
• Four club-level seats at a Seahawks game, plus parking passes.
• Concert tickets.
• Four 2021 season tickets to the OL Reign, plus a signed jersey.
• 300 Xbox consoles and game passes.
• Nintendo Switches.
• 25 Google Nests.
• 40 Amazon Echo Dots.
• 80 gift cards for fishing and hunting licenses.
• 400 Discover Passes for state parks.