Walz says his vaccine incentives ‘may or may not’ work

Walz noted that even if incentives don't work, they create controversy, and that's his goal: "We think some of these incentive programs at least generate buzz around it."

Gov. Walz speaks with school leaders during a visit to St. Paul's Gordon Parks High School, where he announced his new vaccine incentive program. (Tim Walz/Twitter)

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said COVID vaccine incentives “may or may not” work at a press conference announcing the rollout of new vaccine incentives.

The governor rolled out new $200 incentives for children earlier this week that some state lawmakers have characterized as “bribes.” Recipients of the new incentive will also have a chance to win a $100,000 scholarship that can only be used at Minnesota schools. At the press conference announcing this new program, Walz admitted he didn’t know if it was a good idea.

One reporter asked the governor a question, referencing other states that created large lotteries that people could have a chance at winning by getting the vaccine earlier this year.

“You opted not to do that [create a lottery] because you weren’t certain it was going to work. Do you think it’s going to work better among the student population?” the reporter asked.

“We think we saw a big uptake,” Walz responded, speaking on the smaller $100 incentives his administration offered to adults over the summer. However, he immediately conceded that these incentives “may or may not have” helped, before stating his personal opinion on incentives: “I do think it matters.”

Walz concluded by noting that even if the incentives don’t work, they create controversy, and that’s his goal. “We think some of these incentive programs at least generate buzz around it,” he said.

A study released last week found “no statistically significant association” between vaccine lotteries and vaccination rates.

“Estimates of the association between an announcement and vaccination rates were very small in magnitude and statistically indistinguishable from zero,” the study said.

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