WA Says Lottery Vaccine Incentive Shows Some Positive Effect

Aug 6, 2021

Washington Governor Jay Inslee breaks the news to Meredith V that she's the final $250,000 winner in the state's "A Heroes Thanks" vaccine lottery drawing.
Credit Courtesy of Dan Miller

Washington has finished with its vaccine incentive program that used the state lottery.

The state’s top lottery official thinks it made a difference.

Washington’s lottery has given out more than $2 million during the last two months through its “Shot of a Lifetime” and “A Heroes Thanks” promotions. People who had already been vaccinated had their names automatically entered for prizes and so did people who went to get shots because they wanted a chance to win prizes.

State lottery director Marcus Glasper says the state gave away more than a thousand items, from Seahawks tickets all the way up to a million dollars.

On Friday, Glasper introduced the third and final recipient of a $250,000 prize in a program specifically for military veterans. Meredith V is a single mother with two teenage daughters and a member of the Army National Guard. She teaches school in a city on the Kitsap Peninsula.

“I didn’t know anything about this contest until they called me to tell me I had won," she said.

Meredith says she had already had her shots.

“I didn’t need an incentive to get vaccinated. I’m in the classroom with children and with families, so it was always in the plan for me. That was my motivation because it was the right thing to do," she said.

Glasper says one of the goals of the lottery program was to help nudge the state past the 70% mark in Covid vaccination.

“From the Department of Health and their statistics that they have provided from this incentive, we do know that it has helped increase the vaccination rates over the past two months, so we are thankful to have contributed in this small way," he said.

The Department of Health has tried to quantify the lottery’s effect. The agency estimates about 28,500 people received their first vaccine shots during the first three weeks of the promotion, or a 24% increase over the number of shots they would have expected without it.