Here are the first 2 winners of the state’s $49K COVID vaccine sweepstakes

A white paper sign that says "COVID-19 vaccine" with an arrow pointing into a large white room
A COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Dimond Center in August, 2021 (Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)

The first two winners of the state of Alaska’s COVID-19 vaccine sweepstakes were announced on Thursday. Their prize: $49,000 in either cash or scholarships.

Alaska Chamber president Kati Capozzi announced the winners live on Facebook.

“Carin Kircher of Valdez for the Alaskans that are 18 and above and Ethan Benton of Kodiak for Alaskans 12 to 17,” Capozzi said. “And in addition, Ethan’s guardian received their vaccine, so they’re the recipient of $10,000 cash.”

The sweepstakes is part of a collaboration between the state Department of Health and Social Services, the Alaska Chamber and the Alaska 529 education savings plan in an effort to encourage residents to get vaccinated. 

RELATED: Alaska announces weekly $49,000 lottery to encourage COVID-19 vaccination

Residents age 18 and up are eligible for a $49,000 cash prize, while children between 12 and 17 can enter for a scholarship for the same amount.

The Alaska Chamber will hold two drawings for the cash prizes every Thursday through Oct. 30. The entry period is the weekly from Sunday through Saturday before the actual drawing.

Alaska residents who submit proof that they got the first dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine during the previous week to will be entered into the drawing.

A separate final drawing will be held for Alaskans who received their vaccine before Sept. 2.

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Capozzi said the Alaska Chamber sees the sweepstakes as a way to help boost the state’s economy. 

“Our mission is to promote a healthy business environment and we need to get Alaskans back to being healthy to get our economy back on track,” Capozzi said.  

She said more than 4,300 Alaskans received their first vaccination shot last week.

“Of those, 1,742 entered to win at,” Capozzi said. “That means just under 40% of Alaskans who got vaccinated chose to enter.”

RELATED: Alaska has one of the worst rates of COVID in the country

Correction: An earlier version of this story’s headline described the $49,000 drawing as a lottery. The drawings are sweepstakes.

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Wesley is a reporter for Alaska Public Media, covering primarily city government and Anchorage life. He previously worked at Alaska Public Media as a web editor, producer and education reporter before a two-year stint in Kotzebue, AK as News Director for KOTZ-AM.

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