Hennepin County Offers $50 Gift Cards to Increase COVID-19 Vaccinations
The pace of vaccinations has slowed to a crawl in Hennepin County. Officials say that in some parts of Brooklyn Center, for example, fewer than 50 percent of residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
To help boost that number in Brooklyn Center and other cities, the Hennepin County board allocated $100,000 in federal funds to offer vaccine incentives to people and community organizations.
“I think what we’ve learned is that public health is really about public trust,” said Hennepin County Commissioner Chris LaTondresse, representative for District 6, which includes northern Eden Prairie, Edina and Lake Minnetonka communities. “For some of these communities that have been underserved, marginalized, even have experienced outright oppression in the context of our public health system, there’s some hesitancy in these communities. So an incentive program like this is an opportunity for us to help build some of that trust, increase trust, reduce vaccine disparities.”
County leaders say that 65 percent of Hennepin County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but there are still disparities when it comes to race and ZIP code.
Gift cards and grants
To help increase vaccination numbers, between July 1 and Aug. 15, everyone 12 and older will get a $50 Visa gift card (while supplies last) when they receive a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at any Hennepin County-sponsored event.
The county is also offering community organizations up to $3,000 in grants to use toward their own vaccine incentives. ICA food shelf in Minnetonka, which occasionally hosts vaccine clinics, is one such organization that could benefit.
“What does good government look like? Well it looks like Hennepin County partnering with community organizations, congregations, even some small businesses on helping get shots in arms,” Commissioner LaTondresse said. “This vaccine incentive program gives them another tool to make sure that every Minnesotan who wants one, every Hennepin County resident, can get a vaccine.”
For a list of county vaccination events, check out the Hennepin County website.