Amber Shanagin won $49,000 cash in the “Give AK a shot” week four sweepstakes on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. (Photo provided)

Amber Shanagin won $49,000 cash in the “Give AK a shot” week four sweepstakes on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. (Photo provided)

Anchorage woman and Fairbanks middle schooler win vaccine lottery

The weekly draw awards one newly vaccinated adult resident and one newly vaccinated child resident $49,000 in cash and scholarships.

The Alaska Chamber announced the fourth week’s lottery winners Thursday, as part of the “Give AK a Shot” COVID-19 vaccine incentive program.

Amber Shanagin in Anchorage won this week’s adult $49,000 pool, while middle school student Wyatt Otness in Fairbanks was awarded a $49,000 scholarship administered as an Alaska 529 savings plan.

“Give AK a Shot” allows for one newly vaccinated adult resident — 18 and up — to receive $49,000 cash, and one newly vaccinated child resident — 12 to 17 years old — to receive a $49,000 scholarship in an Alaska 529 education savings plan. If the child’s guardian is also vaccinated, they’ll be eligible to win another $10,000 in cash. The campaign, which is funded through the federal CARES act, will choose a winner each week through the beginning of November.

Kati Capozzi, the Alaska Chamber president and CEO, said there have been an estimated 5,800 Alaskans who have received at least their first vaccine dose since the program launched on Sept. 2. She said of those newly vaccinated, only about 25% have entered the sweepstakes program.

Capozzi emphasized that the recently vaccinated person has to register for the lottery program themselves — it’s not automatic.

Shanagin said she decided to get vaccinated after her loved ones encouraged her.

“My mom recommended that I get it because quite a few … of my relatives got it also, and so that’s what kind of made me change my mind about it,” she said.

Shanagin said for people who haven’t gotten the shot yet, she’d recommend it.

“I feel like if more people are vaccinated, we as a community are more protected,” she said.

Some of her winnings, Shanagin said, are going to be put toward helping her grandma remodel her bathroom, and fixing up her truck.

Otness, the youngest sweepstakes winner yet, won a $49,000 scholarship, and his mom Erin Otness also was the recipient of $10,000 cash after getting vaccinated during week four.

The middle schooler said the scholarship is going to help him achieve his dreams of going into the science field.

“I won’t have to worry about debt after college, so I can just pursue my dream and go to a good college that will help me get a better education toward becoming a biologist,” Otness said.

He chose to get vaccinated so he would feel safer in public spaces. “I wanted to vaccinate myself because I wanted to protect myself and others from COVID,” Otness said.

To enter the incentive sweepstakes, participants must register with vaccine and personal information — including name, vaccination date and vaccination location — at giveakashot.com, and people are only eligible for the incentive prizes during the week in which they are vaccinated.

The fifth round of winners will be announced on Oct. 14. Drawings will continue once a week, with winners announced on Thursdays, through Nov. 4.

Alaskans vaccinated before Sept. 2 can enter to win for their one-time drawing any time before Oct. 30.

For more information visit giveakashot.com.

Getting a COVID vaccine

COVID-19 vaccines do not cost money.

Many different organizations on the central peninsula, including pharmacies in Walmart and Walgreens, and the Kenai Fire Department offer vaccines. They are also available for both residents and visitors at airports in Anchorage, Juneau and Fairbanks.

Additionally, Soldotna Professional Pharmacy hosts a walk-in clinic in its strip mall storefront at the “Y” intersection of the Sterling and Kenai Spur highways Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Vaccination appointments can also be scheduled through the online portal PrepMod, which can be accessed at myhealth.alaska.gov.

A map of vaccine providers can be found on DHSS’ COVID-19 vaccine website at covidvax.alaska.gov.

People who would like assistance with scheduling a vaccination appointment can call the Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management call center. The center operates Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. The central peninsula call center can be reached at 907-262-4636. The Homer call center can be reached at 907-235-4636. The Seward call center can be reached at 907-224-4636.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

Wyatt Otness won a $49,000 scholarship in the “Give AK a shot” week four sweepstakes on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. (Photo provided)

Wyatt Otness won a $49,000 scholarship in the “Give AK a shot” week four sweepstakes on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. (Photo provided)

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