Hennepin County ‘doubles down’ on vaccine incentive program

Minnesota’s most populous county is boosting its incentive program for COVID-19 vaccine shots.

The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners Tuesday unanimously approved an additional $250,000 to promote vaccine shots, on top of the original $100,000 that was allocated earlier from federal recovery funds.

Commissioner Chris LaTondresse said the program has increased the number of shots and Tuesday’s action "doubles down on this promising strategy" to help fight the coronavirus.

"This incentive program has always been about taking vaccine disparities head on by increasing public trust and decreasing vaccine hesitancy," LaTondresse said. "We still have a long way to go in eliminating these disparities, but the overwhelming public demand for these incentives shows that our efforts are paying off."

The county used the original investment to buy 2,235 Visa gift cards worth $50 each. As of Monday, about 775 of those cards had been distributed, mainly at county public health events.

The incentive program includes partnerships with community groups to host vaccine events and provide perks such as free meals, groceries, and entertainment.