More than 11,000 Minnesotans registered to receive $100 from the state's COVID-19 vaccination rewards program on the first day.
The $100 incentive is available to people who get the first dose of the vaccine between July 30 and Aug. 15, with Minnesota officials hoping it'll encourage more people to get vaccinated against COVID-19. (You can register for the reward online here.)
Devin Henry with the Minnesota Department of Health said the state received more than 11,800 registration submissions from Minnesotans on Wednesday, which was the first day people could register for the program.
That's more than half the number of people who applied for the state's previous COVID-19 vaccine incentive program for the entire month of June. During that month, fewer than 20,000 people sought vaccine incentives, which included free fishing licenses, $25 gift cards or passes to ValleyFair, among other things.
The $100 incentive program uses federal funds from the American Rescue Plan and is something the White House has encouraged states to do, citing research from UCLA that found about one-third of unvaccinated people said a cash payment would make them more likely to get the vaccine.
And interest in this incentive program is coinciding with an "encouraging uptick" in vaccine rates over the past week, Henry said. The State of Minnesota administered 58,000 doses in the last week, which is up 41% compared to the week prior.
State health officials are encouraging unvaccinated Minnesotans to get the jab, especially as the Delta variant has led to higher case counts and hospitalizations in Minnesota, prompting some businesses and cities to either require masks indoors or that people are vaccinated.
“If you are still waiting to get your vaccine, this is your chance to get $100 just for rolling up your sleeves,” Gov. Tim Walz said in a statement on Wednesday. “We face a critical juncture in the pandemic – the Delta variant is pushing cases up across the country, including right here in Minnesota. As we head into the fall and kids go back to school, the best tool we have to fight COVID-19 is any of the three safe, free, and highly effective vaccines. Now is the time to get your shot, and get $100, Minnesota.”
The governor said he will authorize up to $2.5 million in federal American Rescue Plan money for the program and will seek legislative approval for additional funding to sustain the program, as well as on additional incentive programs to urge people to get the vaccine.
As of right now, the $100 reward is limited to the first 24,330 eligible submissions.
The COVID-19 vaccine is free for everyone. You can walk in or make an appointment to get the jab via the state's Vaccine Connector here or use the state's vaccine locator map to find a provider near you. You can also call MDH's COVID-19 hotline at 1-833-431-2053.
As of Wednesday, 57% of the state's total population has gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. That includes children under the age of 12 who are not eligible for the vaccine, has completed the vaccine series. That jumps to 64.0% when excluding kids under the age of 12. MDH has a public dashboard to track vaccine progress in Minnesota, and you can view it here.