The State of Minnesota's $100 vaccine incentive program continues to be popular.
As of 9:45 a.m. Tuesday, 30,100 people have requested $100 from the state, Minnesota Department of Health spokesperson Devin Henry told Bring Me The News. That's about $3 million in federal funds slated to go to Minnesotans.
Minnesotans could begin registering for the program on Aug. 4. 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.)
Related [Aug. 5]: More than 11K Minnesotans signed up for $100 COVID incentive on Day 1
And it appears it's been working. Henry says there has been at least one request for the incentive program from every Minnesota county, and it appears Chisago, Clay, Mille Lacs, Roseau and Sherburne counties have the most requests per capita.
Those counties are among those with lower vaccination rates, according to state data:
- 46.7% of Chisago County's total population (including those under 12 who aren't yet eligible for the vaccine) have at least one dose
- 48.3% of Clay County's total population have at least one dose
- 38.9% of Mille Lacs County's total population have at least one dose
- 43% of Sherburne County's total population have at least one dose
- 44.1% of Roseau County's total population have at least one dose
More people have applied for this new vaccine incentive program in the first five days than the total 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.
Henry on Aug. 5 said interest in the incentive program coincided with an "encouraging uptick" in vaccine rates, saying the state administered 58,000 doses that week, which was 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.
When the program launched, the $100 reward was limited to the first 24,330 eligible submissions after Gov. Tim Walz said he'd authorize up to $2.5 million in federal American Rescue Plan money for this program.
An additional $13.8 million has since been approved for the vaccine incentive program.
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 Aug. 8, 57.8% 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. The state's vaccination percentage jumps to 68.4% 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.