Wisconsin residents who receive the first dose of any COVID-19 vaccine during the next two weeks will be eligible for a $100 gift card, Gov. Tony Evers announced Monday.
In another development, the Evers administration as of Monday also began requiring state workers and others who work in state buildings to report their vaccination status.
Evers said in a statement the $100 Visa gift cards will be offered to anyone age 12 and older who receives a first dose of any coronavirus vaccine from a Wisconsin provider between Aug. 20 and Sept. 6. The Democratic governor’s announcement comes as schools across the state prepare to hold in-person classes while cases rise statewide, due in large part to COVID-19’s more contagious delta variant.
The state’s new vaccine incentive program, which will be funded using federal coronavirus stimulus money, was announced the same day that the Food and Drug Administration granted full approval of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine.
“From now through Labor Day, if you’re a Wisconsin resident and you get your first COVID-19 shot here in the state, you will get $100 bucks,” Evers said. “It’s that simple: get vaccinated, get $100. I’m calling on all eligible Wisconsinites who have not gotten their COVID-19 vaccine yet to step up, roll up their sleeve, and do their part to help protect our state and put an end to COVID-19.”
In addition to getting a first shot of vaccine, individuals will need to fill out a form available at 100.wisconsin.gov to verify their first dose. Gift cards may take up to six weeks to be mailed to participants.
State officials said the $100 Covid-19 Vaccine Reward Program aims to address the financial barriers faced by some to getting a vaccine and increase inoculations among those who have yet to get vaccinated.
“Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best way to protect yourself from getting hospitalized or dying from the virus, and Gov. Evers’ new $100 vaccination incentive reward program will give Wisconsinites in every part of our state yet another reason to get vaccinated,” Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, said in a statement.
The vaccination reporting requirement for state employees, which started Monday, is another effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The new policy does not force state workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19, but requires them to upload documents showing whether or not they’ve gotten the shot. The deadline to do so is Sept. 9.
The Division of Personnel Management, which updated its guidance for state staff Monday, said the goal is to make work environments safer. The requirement applies to all state employees, contractors and interns who have to be physically present in a state facility for their job.
“Getting vaccinated could save your life or the lives of your loved ones,” the division said.
Wisconsin vaccinators have administered 6 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday, Evers announced. More than 3.1 million people, just shy of 54% of the state’s population, have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine since inoculations began in the state in mid-December, according to the state Department of Health Services.
Cases have been climbing statewide over the summer, with the seven-day average of positive cases currently at 7.1% of all tests.
“The vaccines are extremely safe,” said Karen Timberlake, secretary of the state Department of Health Services. “They are highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death. And they are critical to protecting our kids, our health care workers and the most vulnerable people in our state. Let’s not give COVID-19 the opportunity to keep mutating: Roll up your sleeve, get your vaccine, and claim your $100.”
Other states have offered incentive programs similar to Wisconsin’s latest effort to get more shots in arms. Evers and the state DHS earlier this month offered a free cream puff voucher to anyone who received a vaccine dose during the Wisconsin State Fair. Officials said last week a total of 608 vaccines had been administered during the 11-day fair.