Thousands of Service Members, Veterans Ineligible for State's Vaccine Lottery


Thousands of service members and veterans who received a COVID-19 vaccine through the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs are ineligible for Washington's vaccine lottery because those federal partners do not enter vaccination records into the Washington state Immunization Information System.

During a media briefing on Wednesday, Michele Roberts, assistant secretary of the Department of Health, said the health department is working with federal partners to see if there are options to ensure those who were vaccinated by DOD or the VA could become eligible for the lottery.

Roberts said one option available to service members or veterans with a non-DOD or non-VA healthcare provider is to show their vaccination record to that provider and ask if they'd be willing to add it to the state's vaccination system.

Around 90,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been given at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, according to Woody Stone from Madigan Army Medical Center public affairs. The DOD keeps its vaccination rates separate from state and local vaccine data and will not release data on the number of people vaccinated at JBLM due to security reasons.

Stone said JBLM leaders are working with the DOD to find a way to make service members and their dependents eligible for the lottery.

A spokesman for Gov. Jay Inslee said the state has been working to get individual data from the DOD since "well before the lottery idea was even floated," but those efforts have been unsuccessful.

An additional 60,000 Washington residents have been vaccinated at Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers across the state, including 43,000 at the VA Puget Sound. The VA is working with the Governor's Office to ensure veterans are included in the vaccination lottery, according to a spokesperson for the VA Puget Sound. There are no additional details on when those veterans will become eligible.