Minnesota offers kids $100K scholarships, $200 gift cards as COVID-19 vaccine incentives

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Monday unveiled a new program, “Kids Deserve a Shot,” aimed at boosting the state’s COVID-19 vaccination rate for children aged 12 to 17.

The program includes two enticements: a guaranteed $200 Visa gift card and the chance to win one of five $100,000 scholarships, KARE reported.

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In order to collect the gift cards, age-appropriate kids need to start and finish their COVID-19 vaccine series between Oct. 18 and Nov. 30, but the timeframe does not apply to any of the five scholarship drawings to be held between Nov. 19 and Dec. 17, the TV station reported.

According to the governor’s office, Walz authorized $12.2 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds for the “Kids Deserve a Shot” program because only about half of the state’s 12-to-15-year-old population is fully vaccinated against the virus and only roughly 60% of its 16-to-17-year-old population are fully inoculated.

Parents or guardians can register their child for the $200 gift card once they receive their second vaccine dose, with registration opening at 8 a.m. Nov. 9 and closing at 11:59 p.m. Nov. 30, KMSP reported.

The scholarships, however, are open to any Minnesotan aged 12 to 17 who is fully vaccinated against the virus prior to the deadline for each of the five $100,000 drawings. Winners will be able to use the funds at any public or private nonprofit college or university in the state, the TV station reported.

According to KARE, entry deadlines for the drawings are as follows, and once a child is entered, they are automatically eligible for all subsequent drawings:

  • 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.

“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,” Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan stated in the news release, adding, “Our children deserve a shot of protection from these safe, effective vaccines, and kids deserve a shot at these amazing rewards.”

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