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Gov. Tim Walz has announced the launch of a new vaccine incentive that will see families receive $200 when they get their children aged 5-11 vaccinated against COVID.

The governor said the "next phase" of his administration's "Kids Deserve a Shot" program would see Visa gift cards totaling $200 will be available for families who get their 5-11-year-olds fully vaccinated in January and February.

Registration for the gift cards open at 10 a.m. on Jan 24, and close at the end of February. The money will be sent out once the kids have completed their two-dose series.

The move comes at a time when COVID-19 is surging in Minnesota and throughout schools, driven by the highly transmissible omicron variant.

While the variant has been shown to reduce the efficacy of vaccines in terms of contracting the virus, the vaccines still provide great protection from serious illness and death from the virus.

Currently, only 26% of Minnesotan children aged 5-11 have been fully vaccinated against the virus.

You can find out where to book a shot here.

“As Omicron surges across our nation, we’re continuing to use every resource we have to keep our families safe and healthy,” said Governor Walz in a news release.

"There’s a lot of highly transmissible virus circulating in our communities, but getting our children 5-11 years old vaccinated gives them critical protection against severe illness and hospitalization from COVID-19 and helps keep them in school. You’ll get $200 cash in your pocket for getting this easy vaccination done at the start of the year.”

Walz announced that the state will also hold another round of five drawings for $100,000 Minnesota college scholarships. Unlike the first set of drawings, which was open to those aged 12-17-year-olds, this one will see the money awarded to the families of 5-11-year-olds who get their shots.

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