Minnesota kids aged 12-17 can get a $200 gift card if they get fully vaccinated in the weeks ahead.
Gov. Tim Walz announced the new incentive program, titled “Kids Deserve a Shot,” Monday. Over the next six weeks, all 12- to 17-year-olds who complete their COVID vaccine series will receive a $200 Visa gift card.
In addition, those vaccine recipients and any 12- to 17-year-olds who are fully vaccinated can be entered in one of five drawings to win a $100,000 Minnesota college scholarship.
COVID cases among K-12 students and staff have been surging since the beginning of the school year. Last week, the state reported 2,313 new cases among those groups.
The governor's office, in Monday's announcement, highlighted the lagging vaccination rates among those 12-17. About half of all Minnesotans age 12-15 are fully vaccinated, while less than 60% of those age 16-17 are fully vaccinated, Walz's office said.
Those are the lowest rates among all eligible age groups.
“To keep our schools safe for kids of all ages, we need our teens who are eligible now to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19,” said Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan in the news release. “Our children deserve a shot of protection from these safe, effective vaccines, and kids deserve a shot at these amazing rewards.”
How does it work?
For the gift card, a 12- to 17-year-old will need to get their first dose of a COVID vaccine between Oct. 18 and Nov. 9, then get their second dose by Nov. 30. A parent or guardian can register the teen for the $200 reward starting 8 a.m. Nov. 9, through the end of that month.
The scholarship drawings are open to anyone 12-17 that has completed their COVID vaccine series by the drawing deadlines — even if it was prior to Monday's announcement. A parent or guardian has to register their child for the drawings, while will be conducted by the Minnesota State Lottery.
Winners will be able to put the $100,000 scholarship toward any public or private, non-profit higher educational institution in Minnesota.
Here are the drawing dates:
- Nov. 19 (Entry deadline: Nov. 15)
- Nov. 29 (Entry deadline: Nov. 22)
- Dec. 3 (Entry deadline: Nov. 29)
- Dec. 10 (Entry deadline: Dec. 6)
- Dec. 17 (Entry deadline: Dec. 13)
The children entered into the scholarship drawings will also have a chance to win "other fun Minnesota experiences," though those will be announced at a later date.
“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," Walz said in the announcement.
The funds will come from the federal American Rescue Plan, Walz's office said, with $12.2 million going toward this specific initiative. You can read more details here.