Governor Tim Walz (D-MN) announced a vaccine incentive program on Monday for young Minnesotans aged 12 to 17 that offers scholarships up to $100,000 and $200 gift cards if they get vaccinated.
Walz’s “Kids Deserve a Shot” program requires parents and guardians to register their children for the $200 reward and $100,000 scholarship on the state’s website. However, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) assured parents that the information would remain private. According to the online form, “You are not legally required to provide your child’s information, but if you do not provide the required information, your child will not be entered into the drawings.”
State data shows that young people aged 16 and 17 are the age group most hesitant about the vaccination, with those aged 12 through 15 as the second most hesitant.
“Minnesotans 12-17 years old who start and complete their two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series between October 18 and November 30 are eligible to receive a $200 Visa gift card,” a state website says. Alternatively, the colligate scholarship drawing draws from all young vaccinated Minnesotans, regardless of when they received the vaccine.
Not every Minnesota lawmaker stands behind Walz’s incentive program. Minnesota state Rep. Jeremy Munson (R) criticized the program, telling Alpha News, “Governor Walz is bribing children into taking a shot, while incentivizing parents with a ridiculous chance of a lottery scholarship so they sign the permission slip.”
Munson further added, “Congress has granted pharmaceutical manufacturers complete civil and criminal immunity from vaccine injuries and deaths. Nevertheless, Governor Walz is trying to trick kids into getting a shot that President Biden has admitted could be harmful.”
Walz’s announcement comes as new studies show vaccine lotteries are not successful vaccine incentives. Local news in Denver, Colorado, reported on a study led by the University of Colorado Denver.
“When they compared data to the number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in states that did not announce a lottery/cash incentive, there was essentially ‘zero difference’ in vaccination rates in states that held a lottery compared to those that did not.”
Five lucky students will win the $100,000 scholarships, which can be used at any public or private non-profit higher education institution in Minnesota. Registration for the $200 gift card reward opens at 8:00 a.m. on November 9 and closes at 11:59 on November 30.