Minnesota health officials have a new tool in the kit in their ongoing efforts to get as many "shots in arms" in the battle against the COVID-19 Pandemic.  This one's targeted towards the younger demographic - primarily teenagers.

Governor Tim Walz announced the new "Kids Deserve A Shot" initiative for the state - spotlighting the efforts to fully vaccinate teenagers against COVID-19.  Similar to earlier targeted approaches towards the older population, this effort also comes with incentives.

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The "Kids Deserve A Shot" program comes with a two-tiered approach  to those incentives, and both of them pay off pretty well. Here's a break-down of what Minnesota kids age 12 to 17 years old are eligible to obtain with their vaccinations:

  • Tier One:  Minnesota kids 12 to 17 years old who start and complete their COVID-19 vaccine series (one shot or two - depending on the manufacturer) between October 18 and November 30 will be eligible to receive a $200 VISA gift card for their participation.
  • Tier Two:  The kids who took part and qualified for the Tier One incentive will be entered into a drawing for one of five $100,000 Minnesota College scholarships.

Additional rewards and incentives are in the works as well.  Click here to visit the official web page that explains all of the details - and provides the registration link - on the Minnesota State home page. Financing for the entire program is coming directly from the $12.2 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds that Governor Tim Walz approved for the package.

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The message from the state and from the governors office is straight-forward:  get the vaccine to not only improve the health and well-being of the general population, but also to make sure that schools remain open and in-person as much as possible.  Walz offered:

"Our administration is dedicated to doing everything we can do to keep our kids safe during this pandemic - and that includes working to get as many Minnesotans vaccinated as possible.  We're launching this program to help reward teens for doing their part by getting fully vaccinated and keeping our schools, community, and state safe.  If you haven't started your vaccine series yet, do it now and get $200 in your pocket.  And to every Minnesota teen across the state: Get fully vaccinated and get your shot at a $100,000 college scholarship."

A year and a half into the pandemic - and almost a year into the vaccine effort - the focus has shifted now towards teenagers.  According to details released by the Minnesota Department of Health - and reported by the our news partners at WDIO-TV, "only 50% of Minnesotans 12-15 and less than 60% of Minnesotans 16-17 are fully vaccinated, the lowest vaccination rates of all eligible age groups".

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What Do I Do If I Lose My COVID-19 Vaccination Card?

When you get your COVID-19 vaccine, you're handed a card that details the date, manufacturer variety, and location of your dose. If you're getting one of the two-dose vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna), you'll need that card to coordinate your second and final dose. But even with the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine and even after getting the second shot, you'll need to keep that card in a safe place.

While nationwide vaccine mandates aren't a thing at the present time, there are a variety of times you might need that card even after completing the vaccine process. Many schools (primary, secondary, and higher education) are requiring the COVID-19 vaccine similar to other vaccinations. Additionally, some entertainment venues and mass transportation are requiring either proof of a negative COVID test or the vaccine card.

So what happens if you lose it? Relax. There are ways of obtaining a replacement - and they differ slightly whether you've lost it before getting both doses or after.

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