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Inside Olympia – COVID Update and Vaccine Lottery

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June 10, 2021

Description: This week on Inside Olympia, host Austin Jenkins sits down with State Epidemiologist Scott Lindquist for the latest news on the state’s battle against COVID, and the WA Lottery’s Kristi Weeks on Washington’s “Shot of a Lifetime” vaccination lottery.

After 15 months of intense work that Lindquist says has left he and health officials exhausted, he’s seeing light at the end of the COVID tunnel. As evidence that the trend is finally positive, he points to four distinct spikes during the pandemic — the first three followed by ever-higher baseline numbers of deaths and hospitalizations, but the latest spike followed by a baseline lower than any of the other three.

Lindquist says a June 30 reopening is highly likely, and he expects kids to be back in school in person in September — but still masked. In fact, he says a lasting impact of COVID may be societal masking even during seasons of more normal respiratory illness. And he thinks the days of still going in to work when you’re sick, are over.

Kristi Weeks says the lottery vaccine is aimed at encouraging those who are “on the fence” about getting vaccinated to do so — those who are wondering if they should get vaccinated, or those who have been putting it off. Responding to criticism of the vaccine lottery from some quarters, she says the lottery is totally voluntary.

Putting together the lottery vaccine was unique for the WA Lottery in a couple of ways. First, the time-frame: never had the agency put together a lottery in such a short period of time, just a couple of weeks. And the structure of the lottery is different: you don’t have to pay to join.

She encourages Washingtonians to be wary of scams based on the new lottery. To those wondering if their information is included in the drawings, she said everyone who has been vaccinated at a place other than a federal facility is almost assuredly included — the first drawing comprised 3.9 million entrants, out of Washington’s population of 7.6 million.

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