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Washington to award vaccination prizes, including $1M jackpot

caption: Volunteer registered nurse Christine Marks administers a Covid-19 vaccine for Guo Huang on Wednesday, April 7, 2021, at Island Drug in Oak Harbor.
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Volunteer registered nurse Christine Marks administers a Covid-19 vaccine for Guo Huang on Wednesday, April 7, 2021, at Island Drug in Oak Harbor.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Washington state is jumping on the vaccine prize bandwagon to get more people vaccinated against Covid-19. Prizes range from game tickets to $250,000 drawings over four weeks, with a $1 million grand finale.

"We are providing a shot of a lifetime in this incentive program," Washington Governor Jay Inslee said Thursday.

“I hope people will see this as an opportunity to reopen even sooner than June 30 if we can stay motivated, stay informed and get more people vaccinated faster throughout the month of June."

The state will use the Department of Health's immunization database to randomly select vaccinated winners for a range of prizes. See a list of Washington's prizes below.

Other states have already begun offering their own vaccine incentives. West Virginia is giving away guns and trucks. Oregon is giving away one $10,000 prize in each of its 36 counties, as well as a $1 million jackpot. New Mexico has a $5 million grand prize. And California is offering $116.5 million in giveaways with a $1.5 million jackpot.

According to a spokesperson for the governor's office, the cash prizes will be funded through the federal CARES Act. No state funding will cover the costs.*

QFC and Fred Meyer

Washington state is not the only party handing out prizes for vaccines. Kroger (QFC and Fred Meyer) also announced Thursday that it will be awarding $1 million to five customers who have been vaccinated through its own clinics. It is also giving away groceries for a year to 50 customers.

Kroger's prize program runs from June 3 through July 10. Winners will be selected weekly.

Washington state vaccine prizes

  • $250,000 will be awarded to individuals each week for four weeks. Then an additional drawing for $1 million.
  • Tuition and book assistance for higher education. Also, 30 prizes of one year college tuition for 12-17-year-olds.
  • The state will give $1 million to four-year and two-year schools to use for their own incentive programs.
  • Google is giving away 25 Google Nests. Amazon is giving away 40 Echo Dots.
  • Gift cards provided through local chambers of commerce to local businesses. These will be handed out at mobile vaccination clinics.
  • 2 free tickets on Alaska Airlines, wherever the company flies.
  • Microsoft will give away 300 Xboxs and Game Passes. Nintendo will give away Switches.

There will also be prizes for sports fans, including:

  • Four tickets to Seattle Mariners games; and one full suite at an upcoming game.
  • Four tickets to a Seattle Sounders game in August, plus two autographed jerseys.
  • 10 Seattle Storm tickets per game for the rest of the season.
  • Four club-level seats at a Seattle Seahawks game, plus parking passes.
  • Seattle Kraken tickets.
  • Four tickets to an OL Reign game during the 2021 season tickets, plus a team-signed jersey.

Washington residents who have already been vaccinated, and who have received at least one dose, are eligible for prizes. Once a person receives their first dose, they will be eligible for prizes. About 2.3 million residents age 16 and older have not initiated the vaccine process. Citizenship is not required, but proof of residency is.

DOH will assign each vaccinated person on its immunization list a number. Numbers will then be randomly selected for prizes on Tuesdays starting June 8. Different prizes will be selected for ages 18 and older, and for ages 12-17. The final grand prize for $1 million will be held on July 13.

Winners will have 72 hours to respond and claim their prize after being notified they won.

Governor's office employees, as well as lottery and DOH employees are not eligible.

DOH reports that 63% of Washington residents 16 years and older have started the vaccination process (more than 7,071,595 doses); 54% are fully vaccinated.

*A previous version of this story quoted an official with the governor's office speaking about how the cash prizes would be funded. They said that "The vast majority will be state funds. What federal dollars might be available is still being worked out by (the Office of Financial Management). That’s the most specificity we can provide right now." On Friday, they updated their statement to say that the prizes would be paid for through federal funds.

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