Minnesotans who get their first COVID-19 vaccination shot will be rewarded with $100, Gov. Tim Walz announced Thursday.
President Joe Biden urged states to offer the incentive in an effort to jump-start the country's vaccination efforts amid a surge of COVID-19 infections caused by the highly infectious delta variant.
Minnesota will offer a $100 Visa gift card to anyone 12 and older who gets their first shot between July 30 and Aug. 15.
Those wanting to claim the reward must register at a state website that will begin taking submissions Wednesday. The offer is limited to the first 24,330 Minnesotans who qualify. Minnesota will use federal COVID-19 relief funds to bankroll the program.
This is the second time that Minnesota has offered vaccination rewards. In June, it offered an array of incentives, including tickets to the Minnesota State Fair and visitor passes to state parks.
The most popular reward was a $25 Visa gift card, which was chosen by 57% of the 17,409 people who signed up.
"President Biden is calling for a nationwide push to make sure our families and communities are vaccinated and protected against COVID-19 and the delta variant and Minnesota is ready to join the effort," Walz said in a statement.
Nearly 64% of eligible Minnesotans have completed the vaccine series.
State officials began a push this week to get children eligible for a vaccine to get their shots soon. The Pfizer vaccine is the only one available for 12- to 17-year-olds.
It takes more than a month to develop COVID-19 immunity with the Pfizer shot, including the second dose given three weeks after the first and another two weeks for the shot to fully take effect.
"We are now five weeks out from the start of school. That is about how long it takes to get full immunity from the Pfizer vaccine," Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said. "Do it now in order to have that full protection by the time school starts."
Glenn Howatt • 612-673-7192