OLYMPIA — Washington state will give away more than $2 million in prizes as an incentive for people to get their COVID-19 vaccines, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Thursday, including a $1 million grand prize.
Those cash drawings are the biggest part of an incentive package that also includes tuition money for students and tickets to flights and sports games, among other things.
The plan for cash giveaways will involve one drawing each week for $250,000 across four weeks for all vaccinated residents. At the end of four weeks, there will be an another drawing — for a full $1 million.
Vaccinated residents don't need to do anything to be entered in the drawings. The lottery will automatically gather names from the state Department of Health's immunization database.
Additionally, the state will distribute almost $1 million to Washington's four-year public universities and two-year technical and community colleges to conduct their own drawings for free tuition and expenses for students who have been vaccinated.
At the same time, officials will offer 30 prizes of one year's worth of college tuition credits to children between 12 and 17 years old. Those credits, provided through the Guaranteed Education Tuition program, will be distributed to families.
Thursday's push comes after Inslee has said the state will begin lifting economic restrictions intended to curb the spread of the virus by June 30.
That day would come sooner, the governor has said, if 70% of residents aged 16 and up have gotten at least their first shot.
About 63% of state residents 16 years and older have now hit that threshold, according to the state Department of Health.
Other prizes announced Thursday include a pair of Alaska Airlines tickets to anywhere the airline flies.
Seeking to interest those who indulge in sports, there will be various numbers of tickets given out for games of Seattle's Mariners, Sounders, Storm, Seahawks, Kraken, and Tacoma's OL Reign.
Other gifts for the vaccinated will include various gizmos donated by technology companies, such as 300 Xbox consoles from Microsoft, and 40 Echo Dots from Amazon. Nintendo is pitching in a quantity of Switches, and Google will hand out 25 Google Nests.