In an appearance on TVW Thursday, Gov. Jay Inslee announced the third winner of the state’s “Shot of a Lifetime” vaccine lottery. This time, a nursing student from Spokane claimed the $250,000 prize.
Identified as Marissa P., she was the first among cash-prize winners so far to join Inslee in making the announcement.
“Stay healthy, stay safe and go get the vaccine,” she said.
At the beginning of June, Inslee announced that the state would give out more than $2 million in prizes to vaccinated Washingtonians to incentivize the shots. The grand-prize drawing for $1 million will be held July 13.
The previous $250,000 prize winners are a person from Yakima identified as Dillon T., and another winner identified as Lance R., who issued a statement after winning, saying: “I got lucky. Mainly, I was lucky that I didn’t get hit with COVID before the vaccines were developed and available. Millions around the world haven’t had such good luck.”
The cash prizes are the largest awards in an incentive package that also includes tuition money for students, tickets for air travel and sporting events, and other prizes.
The lottery program aims to encourage vaccination, with the goal of pushing the state to a vaccination rate of at least 70% among residents age 16 and older. Reaching that threshold could trigger a statewide reopening ahead of the planned June 30 date, Inslee has said.
The state health secretary, Dr. Umair Shah, said Wednesday that while the lottery seems to have had its intended effect, the state’s vaccination rate among those 16 and over remains at only 68%. On Thursday, he cautioned that the reopening milestone will not mean the pandemic is over.
In addition to the “Shot of a Lifetime” drawings, Inslee has announced a similar vaccine promotion for Washington’s military members and veterans, who are not included in the state’s count of vaccinated people and therefore weren’t eligible for the original drawings. The separate lottery will include an opt-in process for active-duty military personnel, he said.
State officials have repeatedly said that anyone who has been vaccinated is eligible and automatically entered in the lottery, as long as their vaccine provider has entered the information into the Washington Immunization Information System by 11:59 p.m. the Sunday before the Tuesday drawings.
In his TVW appearance, Inslee also announced that the state’s ban on evictions would be extended through Sept. 30 in an effort to help Washington tenants navigate the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Information from The Seattle Times archives is included in this report.