Minnesota’s ‘Kids Deserve a Shot’ vaccine incentive program begins

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Monday, Gov. Tim Walz’s administration announced the launch of a new vaccine program incentive for Minnesota kids to get vaccinated.

The program, "Kids Deserve a Shot," encourages Minnesotans ages 12 to 17 to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The programs consist of two rewards: a $200 Visa gift card for 12- to 17-year-olds who start and complete their vaccine series over the next six weeks, and five drawings of $100,000 Minnesota college scholarships for any resident between the age range aforementioned with a completed vaccine series.

"Our administration is dedicated to doing everything we can to keep our kids safe during this pandemic — and that includes working to get as many Minnesotans vaccinated as possible," Walz said in a statement announcing the program. "We’re launching this program to help reward teens for doing their part by getting fully vaccinated and keeping our schools, community, and state safe. If you haven’t started your vaccine series yet, do it now and get $200 in your pocket. And to every Minnesota teen across the state: Get fully vaccinated and get your shot at a $100,000 college scholarship."

At a news conference later Monday, the governor said he believes the incentives will work.

"I do think it matters," he said. "One of the things — I’ll just be very clear — is we think some of these incentive programs at least generate buzz around it and that gets people talking about it and getting it done."

This new incentive program comes as the state continues to drive vaccination efforts and awareness across the state, with a focus on boosting vaccination among this least-vaccinated age group. It is designed to encourage teenagers to get vaccinated and increase vaccination rates among adolescents.

As of Monday, only 50% of Minnesotans 12 to 15 years old and less than 60% of Minnesotans ages 16 and 17 are fully vaccinated. This marks the lowest rate of all age groups, according to a news release.

Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says no students are being forced to get vaccinated.

"We do believe if parents have accurate information, they can talk to trusted people like their pediatricians, they get accurate information about the effectiveness of these vaccines…We believe, if you give people accurate information, they will make the right decisions for themselves."

Young people who were vaccinated before this program began will be eligible for the $100,000 scholarship drawings.

The program is being paid for with federal "American Rescue Plan" funds the state received for COVID-19 recovery efforts.

Minnesotans can read full program details and rules and register online here.

The following drawing dates and entry deadlines are showcased below for the scholarship drawings:

  • First drawing: Nov. 19 (deadline to enter on Nov. 15)
  • Second drawing: Nov. 29 (deadline to enter on Nov. 22)
  • Third drawing: Dec. 3 (deadline to enter Nov. 29)
  • Fourth drawing: Dec. 10 (deadline to enter Dec. 6)
  • Fifth drawing: Dec. 17 (deadline to enter Dec. 13)

Parents or guardians must enter their child’s entry by the deadline mentioned to be considered a contestant. The drawings will be conducted by the Minnesota State Lottery.