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caption: Shiva Sharma, 25, receives a Covid-19 vaccine on Thursday, April 15, 2021, at Lumen Field Event Center in Seattle. As of Thursday, anyone 16 years of age and older is eligible.
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Shiva Sharma, 25, receives a Covid-19 vaccine on Thursday, April 15, 2021, at Lumen Field Event Center in Seattle. As of Thursday, anyone 16 years of age and older is eligible.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Washingtonians have trouble checking vaccination status as lottery begins

As Washingtonians wait to see who will be the first winner of the state's "Shot of a Lifetime" Covid-19 vaccine lottery, some people are having a hard time finding out if they're even eligible to win.

The drawings for vaccine lottery winners will be held on Tuesdays starting June 8 and will continue through July 13. There are a range of rewards, including four $250,000 prizes, and a $1 million grand prize. The new lottery incentives have prompted many to check on whether the state knows they've received their shot.

The lottery is pulling winners from the Washington State Department of Health's immunization database. That information can be found online at a website called MyIR. Parents may already be familiar with the website; they use it to prove vaccination status for their kids' school. Covid vaccination records are there, too.

But many people are finding that the online database is lagging or timing out. (Some are reporting better success if they use the mobile option.)

Others say they get through the website's steps only to discover that they can't find themselves in the database. In some cases, that’s because they’re not in it. There are certain federal records, like military veterans who got their shots at the VA and members of the military who got their shots directly from the Department of Defense, that are never reported to the state.

In other cases, it's due to an administrative error. For example, the person who entered a vaccine recipient's information into the state database may have mistyped their name or phone number.

Sometimes, the record simply hasn't made its way from the vaccine clinic to the state health department to the publicly accessible database yet.

The state health department has not responded to KUOW’s questions about what role the state database might play in proving vaccination status to employers or for international travel, and what will happen if a person whose data was mis-entered wins the lottery.

The department did recommend the following steps for those who are concerned that their vaccination record might not be in the state database:

  • Call 833-VAX-HELP. Call takers at 833-VAX-HELP are able to assist people in verifying their Covid-19 vaccination record in Washington state. They can also enter or update email and phone contact information.
  • Contact their vaccine provider or primary care physician.