MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Children who complete their vaccine series before the end of November will get a $200 Visa gift card and a shot at a $100,000 college scholarship, Gov. Tim Walz announced Monday.
The incentives are available to any Minnesotans between 12 and 17 years old who complete their vaccine series by Nov. 30. Only those who start and complete their series between Monday and that deadline will receive a gift card, while anyone 12-17 who has completed their vaccine series this year is eligible for the scholarship drawings. Teenagers need permission from a parent or guardian to get vaccinated.
Five such drawings will be held in November and December, the governor’s office said. Each winner will receive a $100,000 scholarship to any public or private nonprofit college or university in Minnesota. The first drawing will take place Nov. 19. A child’s name need only be entered into one drawing to be eligible for all of the following drawings as well.
“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 release. “If you haven’t started your vaccine series yet, do it now and get $200 in your pocket. And to every Minnesota teen across the state: Get fully vaccinated and get your shot at a $100,000 college scholarship.”
The incentives will be funded by more than $12 million from the American Rescue Plan, the governor’s office said.
Sixteen-year-old Addy Marusic from Andover earned the $100 incentive last month, which she says was most of the reason she got her shot. No amount of money though will sway her friend, Kiera Durant, who’s unvaccinated and also 16.
“I mean, it would be nice to have but I guess I could just keep working for the $200,” Durant said.
Walz and other state leaders plan to visit a St. Paul high school Monday afternoon to further stress the importance of children getting vaccinated. Only 49% of children ages 12-15 and 56% of 16- and 17-year-olds in the state are fully vaccinated, according to Minnesota Department of Health.
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