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Inslee, vaccine incentives
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Gov. Inslee announces COVID-19 vaccine incentives

Gov. Inslee on June 3, 2021. (TVW)

Governor Jay Inslee on Thursday announced that the state is incentivizing people in Washington to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The incentives announced include:

  • Lottery cash drawings, with prizes totaling $2 million
  • Higher education tuition and expense assistance
  • Sports tickets and gear
  • Gift cards
  • Airline tickets
  • Game systems and smart speakers

Starting next week, the lottery will conduct one drawing for $250,000 every week for four weeks for all vaccinated individuals. At the end of the four weeks, there will be an additional, final drawing for a $1 million prize.

The program is retroactive.

Washingtonians who are vaccinated don’t need to do anything to be entered in the four drawings. The lottery will automatically gather names from the state Department of Health’s statewide immunization database.

In addition to the lottery winnings, the state is also offering prizes, including:

  • Two free airline tickets to anywhere Alaska Airlines flies
  • Four tickets to an upcoming Seattle Mariners game
  • Full suite to an upcoming Seattle Mariners game
  • Four tickets to a Seattle Sounders game in August, plus two autographed jerseys
  • 10 Seattle Storm tickets a game for the rest of the season
  • Four club-level seats to a Seattle Seahawks game, plus parking passes
  • Four 2021 season tickets for the OL Reign, plus a team-signed jersey
  • Concert tickets to upcoming shows at Climate Pledge Arena

Microsoft is giving away 300 Xbox game consoles and GamePasses to vaccinated individuals. Nintendo will be giving away Nintendo Switches. Google will give away 25 Google Nests, and Amazon will be giving away 40 Echo Dots.

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The state Department of Health will give $500,000 in gift cards as part of its Care-a-Van mobile vaccination effort.

Again, prizes will be drawn from the DOH immunization database to determine winners.

“Why are we doing this? Because we know it works,” Inslee said. “It works well in other states.”

About 63% of Washingtonians age 16 and older have initiated their vaccinations. But Inslee said that means 2.3 million people in the state still haven’t initiated the vaccine.

Inslee also announced incentives for higher education, including tuition and money for books.

The state is dispersing nearly $1 million to the public 4-year universities and 2-year community and technical colleges to run their own drawings for vaccinated students.

Through the Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program, 30 students who have been vaccinated, ages 12-17, will win one year of tuition college credits. These credits will go directly to families, according to the state.

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State Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah said he hopes the new incentives will help push the state closer to the 70% reopening goal. Washington is set to reopen fully on June 30, or when the percentage of eligible adults who have initiated vaccination reaches 70%, whichever comes first.

Find a list of COVID-19 vaccine locations here. If you need help, call the COVID-19 hotline 1-800-525-0127, then press #.

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