Minnesota will offer $100 for new COVID-19 vaccinations

Governor Tim Walz announced on Thursday that Minnesota will offer $100 per new COVID-19 vaccination a new initiative from the White House.

The effort is another attempt to increase low vaccination numbers in Minnesota and beyond, as the delta variant creates new cases.

The $100 incentive will be available for any Minnesotan ages 12 and up who gets vaccinated starting July 30 until August 15. The money will come in the form of a Visa gift card.

"President Biden is calling for a nationwide push to make sure our families and communities are vaccinated and protected against COVID-19 and the Delta variant, and Minnesota is ready to join the effort," said Governor Walz in a statement. "We have made so much progress to combat this virus. We cannot give up ground now, especially with students returning to the classroom this fall. Getting paid $100 to keep your family safe is a pretty good deal – all you have to do is roll up your sleeves."

The new program comes as Ramsey County officials say they’re concerned with what they’re seeing, but instead of turning to a mask mandate, they’re focused on vaccinating the unvaccinated.

"Right now, there’s not a policy change but we’re kind of back at a point in the pandemic where every day and every hour numbers change," explained Medical Director Lynne Ogawa with St. Paul-Ramsey County Public Health.

In Ramsey County, there is still no mask mandate, yet the CDC says anyone who lives there should be wearing a mask indoors, vaccinated or not. The new advice is based off an interactive map on the CDC's website, which tracks coronavirus transmission county-by-county.

In Minnesota, in just the last day or two, Anoka and Ramsey were among those upgraded to "substantial" or "high" transmission categories. The governor hoping a $100 incentive to get vaccinated will help but local health officials aren’t so convinced.

"People who have made the decision to not get the vaccine, I don’t know if they’re going to change their mind over $100, just like they haven’t changed their minds over park tickets and beers," said Anoka County Director of Public Health Jonelle Hubbard.

Hubbard says they remain focused on building relationships and trust instead as they continue to watch the numbers closely. "Our mission and vision has not changed and it won’t."

"We're probably going to watch the numbers for a few days," said Hubbard. "We’re going to coordinate as a leadership team and make sure that we are making a very informed decision because that decision will impact others and we don’t want to make it hastily."

To get the $100 gift card, you need to register your dose online starting August 4.

To find and schedule a vaccine appointment, you can click here.