Minnesota is offering 12- to 17-year-olds who get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 a $200 reward and a shot at $100,000 worth of college scholarships.
Gov. Tim Walz announced the latest vaccination incentive Monday. It is open to any 12- to 17-year-old who gets both doses of vaccine between Oct. 18 and Nov. 30.
“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 a statement announcing the program.
“Our administration is dedicated to doing everything we can to keep our kids safe during this pandemic — and that includes working to get as many Minnesotans vaccinated as possible,” Walz’s statement said.
The incentive push also includes five drawings, between Nov. 19 and Dec. 17, for $100,000 worth of Minnesota college scholarships and other prizes. These contests are open to any 12- to 17-year-old who was fully vaccinated in 2021 and only one entry is needed for all five drawings.
More details about vaccines, incentives and coronavirus testing are available at www.mn.gov/covid19.
Walz says $12.2 million in federal coronavirus aid will fund the “Kids Deserve a Shot” incentive program. Minnesota got roughly $8.5 billion in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan for COVID-19 response and recovery.
Young people have some of the highest rates of new cases and the lowest rates of vaccination statewide. Fewer than 50 percent of 12- to 15-year-olds are fully vaccinated and 56 percent of 16- and 17-year-olds have gotten both shots.
Residents under the age of 18 are only eligible to receive the two-dose Pfizer vaccine. Health officials hope that vaccine also will soon be available to younger children.
School kids age 10 to 14 have been the age group with the most new infections since classes resumed in September. Last week, that age group had a test-positivity rate of more than 11 percent, the state’s highest.
Minnesota has been offering various vaccination incentives since late May. They’ve included fishing licenses, state park passes, and gift cards.
State officials have already spent at least $8 million in pandemic aid on enticements to encourage vaccinations. During the first week of October 106,000 doses of vaccine were administered, up from about 50,000 the first week of September.
About 73 percent of vaccine eligible residents, age 12 and older, have gotten at least one dose of vaccine. More than 6.6 million doses of vaccine have been administered statewide and 3.4 million people have gotten at least one shot.
Copyright (c) 2021, Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.