Minnesota Launches On-Site Incentives Program at COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics Serving Communities Hardest Hit By Pandemic

By Claire Lancaster

 

 

 

Vaccine recipients will get $100 incentives immediately on-site, rather than having to go online, and incentives will be tailored to local communities

Nearly 50 COVID-19 Community Coordinators, community clinics, and Federally Qualified Health Centers will be participating in the program

Governor Tim Walz announced the launch of a new program offering $100 on-site incentives for COVID-19 vaccines at community vaccination clinics around the state. Nearly 50 COVID-19 Community Coordinators (CCCs), community clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) will be participating in the program.

Participating organizations will offer incentives worth $100 for a completed vaccine series. This program is designed to give organizations flexibility to determine which incentives would most resonate with the local communities they serve. While many will offer Visa gift cards, organizations participating in the program are already planning to tailor their incentives to their communities, with some offering grocery store vouchers, Target gift cards, or culturally specific food items.

“We are taking every opportunity we can to meet Minnesotans where they are — especially in communities hit hardest by COVID-19,” said Governor Walz. “Every shot in the arm is a critical step in stopping the spread of this virus, and local organizations around Minnesota know how to best encourage the communities they serve to get their vaccine. I am grateful for all of our COVID-19 Community Coordinators, community clinics, and Federally Qualified Health Centers who are working to encourage vaccinations and serve Minnesota’s communities hit hardest by COVID-19.”

“Our administration is deeply committed to ensuring equity within all aspects of our COVID-19 response,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan “By providing funds directly to our COVID-19 Community Coordinators, community clinics, and Federally Qualified Health Centers for culturally-relevant and on-site incentives, we will be able to better serve communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. I am grateful for the leadership of Dr. Nathan Chomilo as he directs our vaccine equity response.”

COVID-19 Community Coordinators, FQHCs, and clinics offering on-site incentives will provide more information to their communities and patients about incentives available to them.

The new incentive program comes after two successful Walz-Flanagan Administration efforts to encourage Minnesotans to roll up their sleeves and get their shot. Nearly 80,000 Minnesotans who received their first dose between July 30 and August 22 signed up for a $100 Visa gift card as part of a statewide giveaway. At the Minnesota State Fair, more than 3,110 Fairgoers received their vaccine and claimed a $100 Visa gift card on site.

The incentive program is receiving $4 million in American Rescue Plan funding, as well as $400,000 in private foundation funds raised by the Minnesota Council on Foundations and its members as part of their ongoing philanthropic support for vaccine outreach and incentives. The State is working to develop and launch similar incentives programs with other partners, including local public health, those serving unhoused Minnesotans, and tribes. 

“As the delta variant continues to spread across our communities and children return to school it is more important than ever that our neighbors in communities already hit hardest by COVID-19 have access to reliable information, vaccination, and support to make the best decision for themselves, their family and community,” said Minnesota Department of Health Vaccine Equity Director Dr. Nathan Chomilo. “We have seen throughout this pandemic that when we are able to give communities the ability to steward resources in response to COVID-19, they know best how to use them. Our COVID-19 Community Coordinators, community clinics and FQHCs have consistently reached Minnesotans who are hardly reached, and this program recognizes and reinforces their critical role.”

COVID-19 Community Coordinators have now also held more than 300 vaccination events in communities across the state. CCCs are community-based organizations that connect Minnesota’s diverse communities to COVID testing, vaccination, and other resources. CCCs contract with the State to serve communities hit hardest by COVID-19, including communities of color, American Indian communities, LGBTQ communities, and Minnesotans with disabilities.