Vaccination clinic at St. Joseph Medical Center

Gabina Morales heads to receive her first dose of a Pfizer vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center Thursday in Bellingham. Washington is the latest state to offer prizes to encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19. 

If you’ve been stressing out about whether your name was entered into the vaccine prize lottery, the Washington state Department of Health has good news. Wednesday morning, DOH reported that 3.9 million names had been successfully entered into the lottery. The department is also working to address problems with the MyIR website, where Washingtonians can look up their vaccine records to confirm they’re counted for the lottery.

DOH also offered guidance for those whose vaccine records weren’t automatically entered. This group includes veterans, military personnel and others who received shots through federal institutions that do not share data with the state. In these cases, DOH is encouraging those who’ve been vaccinated to show their documents to their regular doctors, who can submit the information to the state on patients’ behalf.

Dr. Umair Shah, state secretary of health, said that while some people have had trouble verifying their COVID-19 vaccine through the MyIR website, the majority have had no issue. In response to frustrations over the online system, Shah said the department was operating a fully staffed helpline. It can be reached at 1-833-VAX-HELP (1-833-829-4357).

Health officials said more than 3.9 million Washington residents have been entered into the lottery. The state also reported that 3.9 million Washington residents have been vaccinated.

Gov. Jay Inslee could announce the first round of winners as early as Wednesday afternoon. The top prize this week is $250,000.

The state’s lottery program, announced last week, is intended to encourage vaccination among those who have yet to get their shots, with the aim of pushing the state to its goal of vaccinating at least 70% of residents 16 and older. Reaching that threshold could trigger a statewide reopening ahead of the planned June 30 reopening.

It’s too early to tell if the incentives have had the desired effect, said Lacy Fehrenbach, the state Department of Health’s deputy secretary for COVID-19 response, at a weekly news briefing Wednesday.

But anecdotally, she said, she’s heard that clinics are full and bookings are up. The numbers should be in by next week, the six-month anniversary of the state’s vaccine launch.