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Walz unveils COVID vaccine incentive program giving Minnesota kids $200 gift cards, scholarships

Gov. Tim Walz said kids from 12 to 17 years old who start and finish their vaccine series in the next six weeks are eligible for the $200 incentive.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Kids have a new way to make some money in Minnesota: Getting vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Gov. Tim Walz announced the "Kids Deserve a Shot" program in a Monday news release. The program includes two incentives, a $200 Visa gift card and a chance to win one of five $100,000 scholarships. 

Walz said kids ages 12 to 17 are eligible for the $200 reward, but they need to start and finish their COVID-19 vaccine series between Oct. 18 and Nov. 30. 

The time window doesn't apply to the $100,000 scholarship drawing. Walz said any Minnesotans between 12 and 17 years old who complete their vaccine series in 2021 are eligible. 

According to the governor's office, Walz authorized $12.2 million in federal American Rescue Plan funding for the "Kids Deserve a Shot" program. 

The governor said only about half of Minnesota's 12-15 population is fully vaccinated against the virus. It's not looking much better for 16 and 17-year-olds; about 60% are considered fully vaccinated. 

How do you register for the $200 incentive? 

Parents and guardians can register their children for the $200 reward after they get their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Registration opens at 8 a.m.. on Nov. 9 and closes at 11:59 p.m. Nov. 30. 

The registration form for both the $200 reward and the scholarship drawing is available on the state's website.

What about the scholarships? 

Any Minnesotan from 12 to 17 years old who completes their COVID-19 vaccine series at any point in 2021 can enter for a chance at the five scholarship drawings. The $100,000 scholarships can be used at any public or private non-profit higher education institution in Minnesota. 

Deadlines to enter for the drawings are as follows: 

  • Drawing 1 is on Nov. 19. The entry deadline is Nov. 15. 
  • Drawing 2 is on Nov. 29. The entry deadline is Nov. 22. 
  • Drawing 3 is on Dec. 3. The entry deadline is Nov. 29. 
  • Drawing 4 is on Dec. 10. The entry deadline is Dec. 6. 
  • Drawing 5 is on Dec. 17. The entry deadline is Dec. 13. 

Once a child is entered they'll be eligible for all the subsequent drawings. Walz said those who enter this drawing will also be entered for a chance at other incentives. 

“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,” Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan said 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.”