The man who won the first $250,000 prize in Washington’s COVID-19 vaccine lottery claimed his award Thursday, the Washington Lottery announced.
“I got lucky,” the winner, identified as Lance R., said in a statement released by the Lottery. “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.”
Winning the money was “icing on the cake” and “totally unexpected,” he said.
The Lottery did not say which part of the state Lance R. lives in or provide further information about him.
His name was selected in Tuesday’s drawing, and he was reached by phone Wednesday. Lottery officials are waiting to hear back from this week’s other winners for merchandise prizes, after having to leave many voice mails, according to lottery spokesperson Dan Miller. Winners have 72 hours to claim their prizes.
The state will continue to hold drawings each Tuesday through the month of June, with a drawing for the biggest prize — a $1 million jackpot — scheduled for July 13. The state is also giving away airline tickets, sporting-event tickets, Xboxes and other prizes in an effort to encourage Washingtonians to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Anyone who has been vaccinated, and whose vaccine provider has entered the recipient’s information into the Washington Immunization Information System by 11:59 p.m. the Sunday before the Tuesday drawings, is eligible and automatically entered in the lottery.
Gov. Jay Inslee and health officials hope the program will push the state over its goal of vaccinating 70% of residents 16 and over. As of Monday, the most recent data available, nearly 64% of residents 16 and over had received at least one vaccination while 56% were fully vaccinated.
Lance R. used his statement to encourage his fellow Washington residents to get vaccinated if they haven’t already.
“For yourself, for those who care for you, and for the whole community that we’re all part of, let’s get ourselves vaccinated,” he said. “To top it off, you might just win a lot of money.”
If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, the Washington State Department of Health’s website has information about where to get a vaccine and answers to frequently asked questions.