Eligible Wisconsinites Still Have Time To Get $100 For Getting Vaccinated Against COVID-19

Vaccine Reward Program Ends Sept. 19

A member of the Mississippi National Guard receives a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
A member of the Mississippi National Guard receives a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in his arm, by a fellow guard member, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020, in Flowood, Miss. Rogelio V. Solis/AP Photos

Wisconsin’s vaccine reward program ends Sept. 19, but there’s still time for those eligible to receive the vaccine to roll up their sleeves, get the shot and claim their $100.

To qualify for the incentive, Wisconsin residents ages 12 and up must have gotten their first dose of any of the three approved vaccines — Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson — in Wisconsin, Michigan or Minnesota between Aug. 20 and Sept. 19. Those who were vaccinated during that timeframe have until Sept. 30 to claim their reward.

Since the incentive has been in place since Aug. 20, WPR’s WHYsconsin has received numerous questions about the program, ranging from “How do I get my $100?” to “How long does the program last?” to “Why aren’t people who got the vaccine right away eligible?”

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WPR reached out to the state Department of Health Services and governor’s office to answer those questions and more. Below is what we learned.

Why Have An Incentive Now?

While initially skeptical of vaccine incentives, Gov. Tony Evers said after seeing the success of reward programs in Michigan and Minnesota, he reconsidered it as an option.

“I saw how well this particular program worked in the state of Michigan, and we have a lot of similarities there, and frankly … it was time for me to move beyond (my skepticism) and do the incentive,” he said during an Aug. 23 media briefing in Oshkosh.

Evers also pointed to the beginning of the school year as a time to encourage more Wisconsinites to get the shot.

“It is really important for us to make sure that this school year gets off to a good start and this is one of the ways to do that is to make that happen,” he said.

Evers said he hoped the $100 would help minimize barriers like finding transportation, getting child care or taking time off of work to get the vaccine. He reminded people that even if they’ve already had COVID-19, they can and should get vaccinated against the virus.

The incentive was originally available from Aug. 20 to Labor Day, but due to a steady spike in vaccinations the Evers administration announced Sept. 3 that the reward program would be extended to Sept. 19.

As of Thursday, 55.9 percent, or 3,252,870, of Wisconsinites have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to DHS.

More than 65,000 Wisconsin residents got their first dose in the 13 days after Evers announced the program, according to Channel 3000.

Why Aren’t People Who Were Vaccinated Before Eligible For The Incentive?

Neither DHS nor the governor’s press office directly answered questions from WPR about why the reward isn’t available to people who received their vaccines outside the incentive’s timeframe.

DHS Secretary Karen Timberlake told Channel 3000 that those who have already been vaccinated have their own reward: protection.

“The great news for them is they have been protected against COVID-19 this whole time,” Timberlake said. “We want to say a great big ‘Thank you’ to the 3 million people across Wisconsin who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.”

How Do I Get My $100?

If you’re a Wisconsin resident and received a COVID-19 vaccine between Aug. 20 and Sept. 19, you’re eligible to receive a $100 Visa gift card.

“That includes our returning college students who may be living with us for the academic year, that includes people who have a P.O. box as well as a physical mailing address. If you live in Wisconsin and you get your first dose between (Aug. 20 and Sept. 19), you are eligible,” Timberlake said during the Aug. 23 briefing.

To claim the reward, residents need to fill out a registration form at https://100.wisconsin.gov/. The form includes information on where to send the gift card and allows DHS to confirm with the Wisconsin Immunization Registry that registrants were vaccinated during the incentive’s window.

Kids ages 12-17 are eligible for the reward, but their parents or guardians must fill out the form on their behalf.

An email and physical address are required on the form, but for those without, DHS says to call 844-684-1064 for assistance.

For those who have already submitted the form, or for those who plan to submit in the next three days, DHS says to expect to wait six to eight weeks before getting the gift card in the mail.

How Do I Find A Vaccine?

In May, all individuals age 12 and older could receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is available to only those who are eligible.

DHS launched an online vaccine appointment portal at vaccinate.wi.gov. The Wisconsin COVID-19 Vaccine Registry lets people sign up for COVID-19 shots at vaccination sites across the state.

DHS’s Timberlake said Wisconsin residents can also call 211 for assistance finding and scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine.

Separately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a tool, VaccineFinder.org, that allows people to search for a specific type of COVID-19 vaccine and where there are available shots near their home.

WPR previously reported on a Wisconsin-based Facebook group dedicated to helping people find vaccines.

Editor’s note: WPR’s Elizabeth Dohms-Harter contributed reporting to this story.