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Gov. Inslee announces vaccine lottery for military personnel, veterans

Gov. Inslee on June 17, 2021. (TVW)

After being unable to include veterans and active military duty personnel in Washington’s original vaccine lottery, Gov. Jay Inslee announced a new program Thursday that will be offered only to the military population.

Winner collects first $250,000 prize for Washington’s vaccine lottery

Since the federal government did not share the identity or names of individuals who were vaccinated by veterans affairs or the department of defense in order for the state to be able to include them in the first lottery, the new lottery, Inslee explained, is a way to honor military members and veterans.

The program is called “A Heroes Thanks,” and will be a separate incentive program and lottery.

“Clearly, these are some of our most treasured Washingtonians, and I’m glad to be able to provide this incentive program for them,” Inslee said.

Winners will be announced each week starting on July 20. There will be two cash prizes of $100,000 each in the first two weeks, and a grand prize of $250,000 in the third and final drawing. Amazon gift cards worth $250 and state parks gift cards worth $100 will also be up for grabs.

Gov. Inslee clarified that the state now has access to the names of people who got their shots through the VA, but active duty members of the military will have to submit their names to this program in order to be included.

“We’re really happy to honor these heroes,” Inslee said.

Gov. Inslee also shared that the state believes the vaccine lottery incentive program is having a positive benefit in saving lives and getting more people vaccinated. Before announcing the lottery drawings, Inslee said the state had been experiencing rapid decline in the vaccination rate, and that it “had essentially fallen off a cliff.”

Since then, the governor says the state has largely arrested that decline, which he says is good news as it means more lives are being saved and the state will be able to open up soon.

The vaccine lottery, Inslee says, “appears to be encouraging people to think about the vaccine,” and then ultimately choosing to get it after understanding the safety and effectiveness.

Gov. Inslee: Washington ‘staying the course,’ won’t rush reopening

As of Thursday, 67.8% of Washingtonians age 16 or older have initiated vaccination. In order to open the state before June 30, that number must reach 70%.

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