OLYMPIA — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is set to announce incentives for people to get the COVID-19 vaccine, according to his office.
The announcement is set to come in a news conference Thursday, according to Inslee spokesperson Tara Lee. Lee declined to give details on what types of incentives will be announced.
The governor will be joined in Thursday’s news conference by Marcus Glasper, director of the Washington State Lottery, according to a news statement.
Various states have offered financial incentives to prod people to get vaccinated.
Perhaps most notable is Ohio, where residents who do get vaccinated have a chance to win $1 million. In New Mexico, officials announced there will be a $5 million prize, and a total pool of $10 million.
With large segments of Washingtonians vaccinated, health officials have been trying to reach people skeptical of the vaccine, or who haven’t been able to find a way to get their shots. During news conferences on the state’s COVID-19 response, Inslee has consistently urged people to get vaccinated.
As of late May, more than 76% of Seattle residents eligible to be vaccinated had gotten at least one shot and 60% were completely vaccinated, according to city officials.
With the pool of city residents still eligible for a vaccine diminishing, the city announced it would soon shut down all but one of its fixed mass-vaccination sites, including the one at the Lumen Field Event Center.
About 43% of state residents have been fully vaccinated, according to Washington health officials.
Health officials on Wednesday announced 703 new coronavirus cases and 12 new deaths, for a total of 5,801 fatalities.
Last month, Inslee announced he was planning to lift broad COVID-19 economic restrictions by June 30, if not earlier. At the same time, the governor said, completely vaccinated people would be subject to fewer requirements regarding wearing masks, and could attend funerals, weddings and sporting events without capacity limits.
“We know that vaccines are fundamental to this next chapter of this journey, so we don’t have to rely on social distancing and restrictions,” said Inslee at the time.
He credited in that news conference a plateau in Washington’s fourth wave of cases that amounted to a decline in virus activity.
Republicans have continued to call for the governor to open the state up more swiftly.
“The time to move our state forward is now,” said GOP state legislative leaders in a statement Tuesday. “Washingtonians want to return to a sense of normalcy and businesses need more certainty as they attempt to recover.”