COVID-19 vaccine incentives: Minnesota offers $100K college scholarships, $200 Visa gift cards to teens

Minnesota is offering kids ages 12-17 a $200 Visa gift card and a chance to win a $100,000 college scholarship if they get vaccinated against COVID-19. Students who are already vaccinated are also eligible to enter the scholarship drawings.

Gov. Tim Walz announced the "Kids Deserve a Shot" vaccine incentive program on Monday to encourage teenagers and pre-teens to get the COVID-19 shot. 

Walz is hoping the incentives will help boost the vaccination rate among children. Currently, only 50% of Minnesotans ages 12-15 and less than 60% of Minnesotans ages 16-17 are fully vaccinated—the lowest vaccination rates among all eligible age groups. 

$200 Visa gift card 

Minnesota 12-17 year olds who start and complete their two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series between Oct. 18 and Nov. 30 will be eligible for a $200 Visa gift card, according to a news release. Parents or guardians can register their child for the reward once they have completed their two-dose series. Registration for the gift card will open at 8 a.m. on Nov. 9. 

$100K Minnesota college scholarships

Minnesota will also hold five drawings for $100,000 scholarships to any public or private nonprofit college or university in the state. Any Minnesota ages 12-17 who gets vaccinated against COVID-19 or has already completed their vaccine series is eligible to enter. 

The drawings will take place in November and December. Parents or guardians must enter their child into the drawing by the entry deadline for each drawing, the latest of which is Dec. 13. Once they are entered, they will be included in all following drawings. 

The program follows the governor’s successful push over the summer to get more Minnesotans vaccinated by offering Visa gift cards as a reward getting the shot. Walz’s office said nearly 80,000 Minnesotans claimed the $200 Visa gift card reward and 3,110 fairgoers got their vaccine to receive a $100 Visa gift card on site. 

How to get a free COVID-19 vaccine

Walk in or make an appointment through the Vaccine Connector.

Use the state’s Vaccine Locator Map to find a vaccine provider near you.

Check for vaccine appointments using the Vaccine Finder. You can search for appointments by vaccine type, such as Pfizer or Moderna.

Contact your primary health care provider or a local pharmacy.