Residents of Wisconsin who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine can receive $ 100 for receiving the first dose of a vaccine from a state supplier, Governor Tony Evers announced on Monday.
Anyone eligible for the vaccine can receive a $ 100 gift card if they get the vaccine between August 20 and Labor Day. The $ 100 will help provide support for people who want to get vaccinated but cannot get transportation, child care or time off to do so, according to the governor’s office.
The program is part of the fight against the delta variant, said Wisconsin Department of Health Services secretary Karen Timberlake.
The delta variant is the dominant strain of the coronavirus which has led to a drastic increase in cases and hospitalizations of the unvaccinated. Health officials say the longer people go unvaccinated, the more the virus will mutate.
“COVID-19 continues to spread and mutate into highly transmissible variants like the Delta variant,” Timberlake said in a press release. “Let’s not give COVID-19 the opportunity to continue to mutate. “
The incentive comes as Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration following an emergency use authorization granted late last year.
“We all need to step up and stop the spread, and our COVID-19 vaccines are the best tools we have to make it happen,” Evers said.
People aged 12 and over are eligible for free COVID-19 vaccines.
Residents who get vaccinated between August 20 and September 6 can visit 100.wisconsin.gov to claim their gift card. Parents or guardians will have to fill out the form for people who are under 18 years old. After that, the gift cards should be mailed within six weeks. People vaccinated before August 20 are not eligible for the $ 100.
Wisconsin joins many other states that have offered incentives to increase the use of COVID-19 vaccines. Ohio, for example, offered a lottery in early summer to people who got vaccinated, although research published following the lottery found no link between the incentive and the increase. vaccination rates.
Financial incentives can be attractive, but “several strategies will be needed to increase the immunity of the population,” according to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“While a well-designed incentive program can increase immunization rates in the short term, there are likely to be significant hiccups in implementation, and providing flawless, timely rewards would be key to effectiveness. and the credibility of the program, “says the article.
About 54% of the population of Wisconsin has received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to data from DHS.