Hennepin County is increasing its investments in vaccine incentives to maintain the pace

Terry Davis

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HENNEPIN COUNTY, MN - The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners approved an additional $650,000 for Hennepin County's vaccine incentive program on Tuesday, August 24, increasing the total funding granted to the county's vaccination program to $1 million.

Chris LaTondresse, District 6 Commissioner, who was one of the original board members who approved the vaccine incentive program, stated that the goal of Hennepin County's vaccine incentives has always been to provide the public health team with another tool to build trust with the communities and, ultimately, to drive an increase in countywide vaccination rates—and that is precisely what happens now.

He goes on to say, "Expanding this investment to $1 million means empowering even more of our community vaccination partners to meet our residents in their fears and doubts, in a way that increases trust and decreases vaccine hesitancy."

The vaccine incentive program in Hennepin County is divided into two parts:

- Provide $50 Visa gift cards to anyone who receives the COVID-19 immunization from the Hennepin County Public Health Department

- Offering stipends of $3,000 to community-based organizations to assist them in increasing immunization rates in their respective localities.

The additional $650,000 means that the previously stated termination date of August 15 is no longer applicable. Both components of the vaccine incentive program will now be maintained indefinitely as long as funds are available to support them.

Susan Palchick, the director of public health, expressed her appreciation for the additional cash approved on Tuesday. He said that, had it not been for his intervention, they would have been forced to cease their vaccine incentive program by the end of this week, losing momentum and disappointed groups that were looking for cash to push vaccines in their areas.

Hennepin County has distributed roughly 3,000 $50 Visa gift cards at clinics and vaccination programs this year. As a bonus, over 40 community-based organizations have been awarded $3,000 in vaccine stipends, which they can use to provide food and entertainment during vaccine events and education and rewards in the form of prizes and other incentives.

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