The state of Washington is now using lottery drawings, higher education financial help, game systems, smart devices, and tickets to sporting events and air travel to persuade the most hesitant people to get vaccinated.
Gov. Jay Inslee presented a slew of incentives on Thursday.
Inslee stated in remarks issued ahead of a news conference, “These generous initiatives will encourage more Washingtonians to take this life-saving vaccine.” “I hope people see this as an opportunity to reopen even sooner than June 30 if we can stay motivated, keep aware, and get more people vaccinated in June.”
Washington will reopen to the public on June 30th, or when the percentage of eligible adults 16 and older who have gotten at least one dose reaches 70%, whichever comes first.
The governor stated on Thursday that if the 70 percent objective isn’t fulfilled, the state will still reopen, but he’d prefer it with more vaccinated people.
He stated, “The earlier the better.”
According to the state, anyone who has been vaccinated or plans to be vaccinated is eligible for the current incentives.
According to Thursday’s statement, the incentives are open to all Washington residents, regardless of citizenship, though proof of Washington residency is necessary.
Who isn’t Eligible?
According to the release, “employees currently working at the Office of the Governor, Washington State Lottery, and Department of Health, as well as their households.”
One flaw is that persons who obtained immunizations in the state through the United States Department of Defense or the Department of Veterans Affairs are not registered in the state system.
The state is working on a solution that would allow those people to choose whether or not to participate.
OPTIONS FOR INCENTIVES
In June, the Washington State Lottery will hold a “Shot of a Lifetime” giveaway series to reward persons who have been vaccinated.
A drawing will be done starting next Tuesday and lasting four weeks to reward $250,000 to a vaccinated state resident each week. The names will be chosen from the immunisation database of the state Department of Health.
On July 13, at the conclusion of the four weeks, a final drawing for a $1 million prize will be held.
Other incentives include:
Almost $1 million will be distributed to public four-year universities and two-year community and technical institutions to be used in their own drawing for free tuition and costs for vaccinated students.
Through the Guaranteed Education Tuition Program, thirty awards of one year of tuition college credits will be awarded to 12-17 year olds (GET program). These funds will be distributed directly to households.
Alaska Airlines, Seattle Mariners, Seattle Sounders (tickets + two autographed jerseys), Seattle Storm, Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Kraken, and OL Reign will all be giving away tickets (tickets plus a team-signed jersey).
Businesses will hand out gift cards during vaccine events, while Microsoft will give away 300 Xboxes and GamePasses to vaccinated people. Nintendo Switches will be available for purchase. According to the state’s announcement, Google would give out 25 Google Nests and Amazon will give away 40 Echo Dots.
The awards will be administered by the Washington Lottery, which will include mailing the game consoles and other digital rewards to the winners.
“After each drawing, my team is ready to call the winners,” said Marcus Glasper, director of the Washington State Lottery, at a news conference on Thursday.
“The winners will have 72 hours to react to our communication… in order to receive their award. We will move on to alternate probable winners if they do not notify us within 72 hours.”
SO FAR, THE PROGRESS
So far, 50.32 percent of the state’s population has begun immunisation, with 43.34 percent fully vaccinated.
Among individuals aged 16 and up, 62.70 percent have begun vaccination and 54 percent have completed vaccination.
People in Pierce County can now acquire COVID immunizations at pop-up clinics in area eateries in exchange for a chance to win two round-trip flight vouchers for wherever Alaska Airlines flies. (See https://getvaxxedwa.com/ for dates and locations.)
Meanwhile, Anheuser-Busch is providing free beer, seltzer, non-alcoholic drink, or any A-B beverage to everyone who gets at least one dosage of the vaccine by July 4th.
Pierce County has seen a drop in vaccine event attendance, with less than half of the expected vaccine rate being administered at one of the most high-profile vaccine clinics, the six-week Tacoma Dome event, which ended June 1.
During the event, clinic organisers expected to give out 35,100 first and second doses (17,550 each).
The clinic delivered 15,696 total first and second doses, according to figures acquired Thursday from the county’s Department of Emergency Management. The two-shot Pfizer vaccination was chosen by the majority of those, with 262 opting for the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine.
Mike Halliday, public information specialist for Pierce County’s Department of Emergency Management, informed The News Tribune via email that while DEM was managing events at the Tacoma Dome, workers were running vaccination sites in other sections of Pierce County.
“At such gatherings, DEM also got 13,995 first and second doses into the community,” he added.
Since its inception in late January, DEM has distributed more over 93,000 doses (both first and second).
A presentation by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department at the Board of Health meeting on May 19 revealed that one walk-in clinic, located at the former Toys R Us site in Puyallup, had only 15 percent of its available slots occupied at the time.
On the other hand, even in Pierce County, the benefits of increasing vaccination rates are beginning to be evident.
The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department said on Wednesday that the county’s 14-day case rate has dropped below 200 for the first time in over three months.
Inslee encouraged everyone to pay attention to the drawing in the coming weeks during his closing remarks on Thursday.
“Wishing you luck in the lottery; this is the most important one you will ever play.”