Ethan Benton and Laura Walters of Kodiak win the vaccine lottery for the Alaska Chamber's week one vaccine lottery giveaway "Give AK a Shot."

State names winners in 1st vaccine lottery

A Valdez and Kodiak resident took home checks for $49,000 each.

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

Carin Kircher in Valdez won this week’s adult $49,000 pool, while Kodiak student Ethan Benton 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 end of October.

Kati Capozzi, the Alaska Chamber president and CEO, said more than 4,350 Alaskans received their first vaccine dose on week one, and 1,742 of them entered to win the sweepstakes.

“That means just under 40% of Alaskans that were vaccinated chose to enter,” she said during the announcement. “If you do get vaccinated, you do have to go to the website to get entered to win.”

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

Kircher, who lives in Valdez with her husband and two dogs, said she decided to get vaccinated after talking to her brother.

“I talked to my brother, who’s in the medical field, and did my research,” she said. “It seemed like a really good idea to be a part of getting the world back to normal a little bit.”

Kircher said she plans on saving most of the prize money, but also putting some toward a family vacation next month.

Benton said he decided to get the jab to stay safe at school this year.

“I figured with school coming up it would probably be a good idea to get vaccinated and be safe,” he said.

The Kodiak teen said he plans on using the $49,000 scholarship fund to help him break into STEM.

“I still have a lot of options to consider, but I’m looking for something in the scientific field,” he said. “It’ll help me get a good education that I can’t afford right now, and open up my opportunities.”

Since Laura Walters, Benton’s legal guardian, got her first shot alongside the teenager during week one, she also won $10,000 cash from the sweepstakes.

She said she will probably plan a family vacation with some of the winnings.

“There’s multiple teenagers living in this house,” Walters said. “Probably we ought to do some sort of trip or something fun for them since it’s them getting vaccinated.”

The duo said they think it’s important to get the shots to protect Alaska communities.

“It’s definitely worth it, and it’s pain free and easy,” Benton said. “And it keeps everyone safe.”

“I couldn’t have said it better,” Walters said. “I think it’s really important for us to do this not just for ourselves, but for our entire state.”

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

The second winners will be announced on Sept. 23. 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, 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.

COVID testing locations

Officials encourage anyone with symptoms to test for COVID-19, despite vaccination status.

In Kenai, testing is available at the Chignik Lagoon Clinic, Odyssey Family Practice, Kenai Public Health Center and Capstone Clinic.

In Soldotna, testing is available at the Peninsula Community Health Center, Urgent Care of Soldotna, Walgreens and Soldotna Professional Pharmacy.

In Seward, testing is available at Providence Medical Center, Chugachmiut-North Star Health Clinic, Glacier Family Medicine, Seward Community Health Center and the Safeway pharmacy. Starting Sept. 14, the Seward Community Health Center is offering drive-through testing Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

In Homer, testing is available at South Peninsula Hospital, or through other area health care providers at Seldovia Village Tribe Health and Wellness, Kachemak Medical Group and Homer Medical Center.

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

Carin Kircher of Valdez wins the vaccine lottery for the Alaska Chamber's week one vaccine lottery giveaway "Give AK a Shot."

More in News

A moose is photographed in Kalifornsky, Alaska, in July 2020. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Illegal moose harvest down from past 5 years

The large majority of moose this year were harvested from North and South Kasilof River areas.

Renee Behymer and Katelyn Behymer (right) of Anchorage win this week’s vaccine lottery college scholarship sweepstakes. (Photo provided)
Dillingham and Anchorage residents win 6th vaccine lottery

“Get it done,” one winner said. “Protect us all, protect our elders and our grandchildren.”

Kenai Vice Mayor and council member Bob Molloy (center), council member Jim Glendening (right), council member Victoria Askin (far right), and council member Henry Knackstedt (far left) participate in a work session discussing the overhaul of Kenai election codes on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska.
Kenai City Council gives sendoffs, certifies election results

Both council members-elect — Deborah Sounart and James Baisden — attended Wednesday.

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. (CDC)
COVID is No. 3 underlying cause of death among Alaskans so far this year

The virus accounted for about 7.5% of all underlying causes of death after a review of death certificates.

Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, speaks on the floor of the Alaska House of Representatives during a floor debate on Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, over an appropriations bill during the Legislature’s third special session of the summer. Multiple organizations reported on Wednesday that Eastman is a lifetime member of the far-right organization the Oath Keepers. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Data leak shows state rep is member of far-right organization

Wasilla area lawmaker said he joined when Oath Keepers first started.

Christine Hutchison, who lives in Kenai and also serves on the Kenai Harbor Commission, testifies in support of the use of alternative treatments for COVID-19 during a meeting of the Kenai City Council on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Medical liberty’ petition brought to Kenai City Council

Some members of the public and Kenai City Council spoke against health mandates and in support of alternative treatments for COVID-19

Amber Kraxberger-Linson, a member of Trout Unlimited and streamwatch coordinator for the Chugach National Forest, works in the field in this undated photo. Kraxberger-Linson will be discussing at the Saturday, Oct. 23 International Fly Fishing Film Festival the organization’s educational programming for next summer. (Photo provided by Trout Unlimited)
Out on the water — and on the screen

Trout Unlimited to host fly fishing film festival Saturday.

This screen capture from surveillance footage released by the Anchorage Police Department shows a masked man vandalizing the Alaska Jewish Museum in Anchorage in May. (Courtesy photo / APD)
Museums statewide condemn antisemitic vandalism

Two incidents, one in May, one in September, have marred the museum this year.

Three speech language pathologists with the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District were recognized for excellence during the Alaska Speech-Language-Hearing Association last month. (Kenai Peninsula Borough School District)
Peninsula speech language therapists awarded for excellence

“I was very honored to be recognized by my peers and colleagues,” Evans said in an interview with the Clarion.

Most Read