First vaccine lottery drawing in Washington today: What you need to know

If you got vaccinated in Washington State – you are most likely in the drawing to win a big cash prize of $250,000 on Tuesday, with even bigger prizes coming in July.

The vaccination appreciation prizes are part of the state’s latest efforts to get people vaccinated, in a campaign called “Shot of a Lifetime.

The drawing for 249 total prizes starts at 8 a.m. at the Washington’s Lottery headquarters in Olympia. You will not see any fanfare – it is going to be done in a vault room with a couple of computers and just a few people, including an auditor.

The computer will pick winners with a random number generator. The selected winners then go back to the Washington State Department of Health, who will match the corresponding numbers to pre-assigned names.

If you got vaccinated at most locations in Washington State, like Lumen Field, hospitals, pharmacies – you are automatically enrolled.

“Excitement and stress at the same time,” said Marcus Glasper, director of Washington’s Lottery. “All eyes - virtual eyes - are on us. But yes we are excited that the day has finally come,” he said.

The prizes range from cash, to gift cards, to game tickets, to jerseys.

A lot of people KIRO7 spoke with on Monday had no idea about the lottery or the drawing Tuesday.

“I did not know that but now I do!” said  Alana Gross, who lives in Seattle. “I’m loving it!” she said.

But people who got vaccinated at federally-run sites – like at VA hospitals or at Joint Base Lewis McCord (JBLM) – will not be part of the drawing. The state said that federal data currently cannot cross over into the state’s database, which means many veterans will not be part of Tuesday’s drawing.

“It’s super unfortunate. I think that demographic would benefit greatly from something like this and it’s a shame they can’t,” Gross said.

There is another challenge: Despite the state’s advertising of the website MyIRmobile as a way for people to check if their names are in the state department of health system, many people reported having trouble.

“A lot of people can’t find their vaccine in the registry,” said  Chazitti Jjay, who also lives in Seattle.

A half-dozen people KIRO7 asked to check all got the same error message that said, “We couldn’t verify your identity. The phone number you entered does not match what’s on file.”

The Department of Health said in a statement Monday that it recognizes many people are having trouble accessing that data, but assures “the records have been transmitted” and the DOH “will be able to pull winners from the pool of eligible vaccine recipients.”

The DOH says people can call 833-VAX-HELP if they have trouble accessing the system.

People who win will receive a call or email starting as early as Tuesday night, but most likely starting Wednesday morning.

The call will come from a verified lottery employee. You will need to confirm you are a Washington state resident and you have 72 hours to respond and claim your prize.

If you are worried the call you are getting could be a scam, you can call the main Washington State lottery number (360) 810-2888 and verify you are one of the winners.

There will be more cash drawings on the following days, including the drawing for the big $1,000,000 dollar prize on July 13:

  • Drawing 1 on June 8, 2021 ($250,000)
  • Drawing 2 on June 15, 2021 ($250,000)
  • Drawing 3 on June 22, 2021 ($250,000)
  • Drawing 4 on June 29, 2021 ($250,000)
  • Drawing 5 on July 13, 2021 ($1,000,000)

The state says the prize incentives are already driving up the vaccination rate, which had slowed.