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'Encouraging' signs COVID-19 vaccine incentives are working, Inslee says

Gov. Jay Inslee says there has been an increase in COVID-19 vaccination appointments since the start of the state's lottery.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington state health officials said by June 12 they should be able to tell if a series of lottery-based COVID-19 vaccine incentives are working.

However, on Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Jay Inslee said there are some "encouraging" signs already. He said there’s been an “uptick” in vaccine appointments since the lottery was announced a week earlier.

"Monday saw the largest single day number of vaccine appointments booked over the last past two weeks. That’s good news,” said Inslee. 

Washington Health Secretary Dr. Umair Shah said data from vaccine clinics across the state should provide more evidence of any potential increase by Thursday or Friday.

“We do believe that these incentives are going to move some people, and that's the reason they've been used around the country,” said Shah.

Deputy Health Secretary Lacy Fehrenbach cited other potential signs of improving vaccination rates. “There's an increase in people calling the hotline to book an appointment this week over last week,” said Fehrenbach.

There will be four weekly drawings for $250,000, and one lucky Washingtonian will win a $1 million grand prize.

Washington State Lottery officials said Wednesday they have reached the first $250,000 winner from Tuesday's drawing, but they're still in the process of notifying other prize winners. 

The next drawings will take place on: 

  • June 15
  • June 22
  • June 29
  • July 13

Residents who have received at least one COVID-19 vaccination and are in the state Department of Health (DOH) vaccine database are automatically entered into the lottery drawing. 

The latest data from the DOH dashboard shows that more than 51% of the state's population has at least initiated vaccination while nearly 45% are fully vaccinated. Looking at just Washingtonians who are at least 16 years of age, those percentages change to roughly 64% and 56% respectively.