Gov. Tim Walz, D-Minn., announced a vaccine incentives program Monday for young Minnesotans aged 12 to 17 that offers hundreds of dollars in gift cards and up to $100,000 in scholarships if they take the vaccine.
The program, called “Kids Deserve a Shot!,” invites parents and guardians of fully vaccinated children to submit their children’s proof of vaccination for a chance to win either $200 Visa gift cards or one of five $100,000 state collegiate scholarships.
“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’s website says.
Participating individuals are eligible for the collegiate scholarship drawing regardless of when they got vaccinated
In addition to the application, parents are required to submit proof of their children’s vaccination status with the assurance that the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) uses the information for the sole purpose of the drawing and the information will remain private under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.
“MDH will use the information you provide to verify your child’s eligibility for the drawing and to contact you in the event your child is a prize winner. You are not legally required to provide your child’s information, but if you do not provide the required information (shown by a “*” symbol next to those items), your child will not be entered into the drawings,” the form reads.
Minnesota state Rep. Jeremy Munson, a Republican, criticized the incentive, saying that “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.
“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,” he continued.
Young people aged 16-17 are most reluctant to take the vaccine followed by those in the 12-15-year-old group.