Brief

Wisconsin rolls out new reward to encourage people get a COVID-19 vaccine

By: - August 23, 2021 1:53 pm
Gov. Tony Evers visits a vaccination clinic in March 2021 | Evers' Facebook

Gov. Tony Evers visits a vaccination clinic in March 2021 | Evers’ Facebook

Wisconsin residents for whom a deadly pandemic wasn’t sufficient incentive to get a COVID-19 vaccination now will get a $100 reward for getting their first shot — but only for the next two weeks.

Gov. Tony Evers and the Department of Health Services (DHS) announced Monday that people who receive the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine from a Wisconsin vaccine provider between Aug. 20 and Sept. 6 will be given a $100 Visa gift card. Wisconsin residents 12 and older are eligible for the shot and the gift card.

State officials announced the reward program — funded through Wisconsin’s allotment from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) — the same day that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it has given final approval for the first COVID-19 vaccine, a two-shot series produced by Pfizer. Until Monday, the vaccine had been offered under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

In the U.S. the other two vaccines, from Moderna and from Johnson & Johnson, are still provided under the EUA.

The reward program is also being instituted just one week before K-12 school resumes across the state while the share of the state’s population to have received the vaccine has been lagging. According to DHS, 53.7% of Wisconsin residents have received at least one dose, and 50.5% have completed the vaccine series. The numbers have been increasing slowly from day to day.

Many school districts have been planning for in-person classes, with some requiring masking — as recommended by DHS and the federal government — and others making masking optional. Public health officials have said masking is especially important to curb the spread of the virus in schools because children 11 or younger are not yet eligible for any of the COVID-19 vaccines.

“As our kids start returning back to school, and with the Delta variant spreading rapidly across the state, we all need to step up and stop the spread, and our COVID-19 vaccines are the best tools we have to do just that,” Evers said in a statement.

COVID-19 vaccines are free to all patients, although health insurers may be billed for administrative costs.

Anyone receiving a first dose of vaccine during the two-week reward period can sign up for their reward by filling out a form available at 100.wisconsin.gov. After the vaccine recipient’s information is verified, a $100 Visa gift card will be mailed to the person. A previous reward offered for getting the vaccine at the State Fair earlier this month was a free cream puff, which 608 people took the state government up on.

More information on the reward program may be found at the DHS reward page or by calling 844-684-1064. People can find nearby vaccine locations by visiting Vaccines.gov, or by calling 2-1-1 or 877-947-2211.

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Erik Gunn
Erik Gunn

Senior Reporter Erik Gunn reports and writes on work and the economy, health policy and related subjects, for the Wisconsin Examiner. He spent 24 years as a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine, Isthmus, The Progressive, BNA Inc., and other publications, winning awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, beat coverage, business writing, and commentary. An East Coast native, he previously covered labor for The Milwaukee Journal after reporting for newspapers in upstate New York and northern Illinois. He's a graduate of Beloit College (English Comp.) and the Columbia School of Journalism. Off hours he is the Examiner's resident Springsteen and Jackson Browne fanboy and model railroad nerd.

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