Prizes include tuition, cash, gift cards, game tickets
Following the example of states like Ohio, California and Maryland, Gov. Jay Inslee announced on June 3 the “Shot of a Lifetime” program to incentivize vaccines.
The program, administered by the Washington State Lottery, automatically enters vaccinated state residents to win cash drawings with prizes totaling $2 million, higher education and tuition assistance, sports tickets and gear, gift cards, airline tickets, game systems and smart speakers.
“These generous programs will encourage more Washingtonians to take this life-saving vaccine,” Inslee said June 3 at a press conference. “I hope people will see this as an opportunity to reopen even sooner than June 30 if we can stay motivated, stay informed and get more people vaccinated faster throughout the month of June.”
The Washington state Department of Health reported last week that 63% of people 16 years old or older had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 54% of people in that age group are fully vaccinated.
Since May 13, more than 100,000 12- to 15-year-olds statewide have gotten their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine — more than 27% of that age group.
“With summer vacation just weeks away, people who receive their first dose now will be fully vaccinated and able to take part in the activities they enjoy this summer safely, with friends and family, and mask free in most places,” according to the DOH.
In other vaccine news, Pfizer and Moderna have both requested full approval from the Food and Drug Administration for their COVID-19 vaccines. The companies have been distributing the vaccines under an emergency authorization since late last year.
Full approval from the FDA requires at least six months of safety data, according to the DOH.
On Monday, the state Liquor and Cannabis Board announced that it would allow “Joints for Jabs” promotions, issuing a temporary OK to state licensed cannabis retailers to give one joint to customers who are vaccinated at an “in-store vaccination clinic.”
“The LCB received multiple requests from cannabis retail licensees to engage in promotions to support state vaccination efforts,” a press release from the agency stated. “The allowance is effective immediately.”
The allowance will expire on July 12, 2021.
As of Monday (June 7), 45.48% of Okanogan County’s total population had at least one shot, and 40.91% were fully vaccinates. In the 16 years and older age group, 57.17% had at least one shot and 51.43% were fully vaccinated.
A total of 35,634 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given in Okanogan County.
On June 1, the state officially launched its “Care-A-Van” mobile vaccination service, which will target communities with higher vaccine gaps by race/ethnicity, communities that are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 or places with recent outbreaks, places with low vaccination rates and communities that have had a higher than average rate of COVID cases, hospitalizations or deaths.
“As vaccination rates increase statewide, we are continuing to analyze where and among which groups of people we’re seeing lower rates so that we can implement more tailored strategies to reach communities where they are,” said Elizabeth Perez, director of the Center for Public Affairs and Equity at the Washington state Department of Health.
Last month, the DOH announced it would phase away from its mass vaccination locations and focus on mobile units to reach more residents.
“The launching of the Care-A-Van program is an example of an innovative, community-driven approach to support the tireless COVID-19 vaccination efforts of communities across Washington,” said Umair A. Shah, Secretary of Health. “This first-of-its-kind capability at the Washington State Department of Health level will help ensure we reduce any and all barriers for those who want to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.”
North Valley Hospital District began its own mobile vaccine service in May, visiting remote communities in the north end of the county, like Loomis and Chesaw.
To request a visit from the Care-A-Van, visit www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/Vaccine/CareaVan.