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'I got lucky': Winner of first $250,000 in Washington's vaccine lottery claims prize

Lance said it was "totally unexpected" and encouraged others to get vaccinated not only to have a chance at winning money, but also to protect the community.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The first winner in Washington state's "Shot of a Lifetime" COVID-19 vaccine lottery claimed his $250,000 prize Thursday. 

The man, identified by Washington State Lottery officials as Lance R., did not want to speak on camera about his big win. But in a statement he said he "got lucky," and encouraged others to get vaccinated not only to have a chance at winning money, but also to protect the community.

His full statement said: "I got lucky. 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.

Getting the phone call yesterday that I won the big prize in this week's Washington vaccine lottery is also all about luck. Icing on the cake. Totally unexpected. 

But if you haven't gotten vaccinated yet, especially when it is so easy now to do, you're taking a very high risk gamble. You can't count on your luck holding out. Besides, the shots are free. 

There will be 3 more lucky Washington winners of this lottery over the next 3 weeks, and then only July 13, someone who is vaccinated will be even luckier than I am today and win a million dollars. Just for doing the right thing.

For yourself, for those who care for you, and for the whole community that we're all part of, let's get ourselves vaccinated. To top it off you might just win a lot of money."

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

Winners will have 72 hours from the time of notice to call lottery officials back and claim their prize or they will be disqualified from winning. Unclaimed prizes from the first four drawings will be placed in the fifth and final drawing.

Here's when the next drawings are taking place for vaccinated adults: 

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

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

According to the Washington State Lottery, you must be in the Washington State Immunization Information System by 11:59 p.m. the Sunday before the drawing date to be included in that week’s lottery.

In addition to the $250,000 prize, vaccinated residents also have the opportunity to win other prizes like a suite for 16 at a Mariners game, two sets of Seahawk tickets, including parking, 75 XBox game consoles, 5 Nintendo Switch games, 100 state parks Discover Passes, 20 day passes for State Parks, 20 fish and hunting licenses and 25 Alexa Echo Dots.

Two drawings will be held for eligible residents ages 12-17 on June 13 and June 22. The Washington State Lottery said the two drawings for minors will include 15 prizes of 100 Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) units each. The total value of each GET prize is $12,200. Minors are not eligible for cash prizes.

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