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Wednesday, October 4, 2023
Oct. 4, 2023

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National Guard reservist and elementary school teacher wins Washington’s final $250,000 COVID vaccine lottery


An elementary school teacher serving in the Army National Guard has won the final $250,000 prize in Washington’s vaccine lottery. She said she didn’t know about the lottery when she got her shots.

Meredith V. didn’t need an incentive, she said, because she believes it’s the right thing to do, and because she’s a teacher who can’t wait to see her students in person again.

“There’s nothing that I want more than to just be back in a normal classroom, and that’s likely not going to happen until we beat this thing,” she said.

The single mother of two teenage daughters spoke at a Friday morning news conference, and is the final of three winners in the “A Heroes Thanks” vaccine lottery. Two previous winners received $100,000 each.

The Heroes lottery was created for members of the military who were not included in the state’s original “Shot of a Lifetime” lottery due to records-sharing issues with the federal government.

Meredith, who called the win “life-changing,” said she was going to pay off some debts, establish accounts for her daughters’ educations and set some aside for charitible donations.

But the first big fun treat will be tickets to see the Seahawks, something the Kitsap County resident said she’s been wanting to do since the Army National Guard brought her to Washington six years ago. She has been in the Army National Guard for 15 years.

The state’s COVID-19 vaccine lottery was announced in June by Gov. Jay Inslee as a way to get more shots into the arms of Washington residents.

Inslee has claimed the lottery slowed the decline in vaccinations statewide. However, across the country, states have seen mixed results with lotteries aimed at boosting vaccination rates.

The previous $250,000 prize winners were identified by the state as a Yakima resident, a nursing student from Spokane, a Walla Walla food service worker who almost didn’t return the call and a 23-year-old motorcycle mechanic from South King County.

The cash prizes were the largest awards in an incentive package that also included tuition money for 30 students, tickets for air travel and sporting events, and other prizes.