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Wisconsin Gift Card Incentive For COVID Vaccination Seems Popular, Continues Through September 19

Chuck Quirmbach
A sign inside the lobby of the Wisconsin Center earlier this year.

People who have not gotten vaccinated for COVID-19 have through September 19 to get a shot and qualify for a $100 gift card offered by the State of Wisconsin. The program was expected to conclude on Monday, September 6. But on Friday, Gov. Tony Evers announced an extension.

Since the eligibility window for the rewards program started on August 20, the Department of Health Services (DHS) told WUWM that tens of thousands of people are expected to get the VISA gift card after receiving their first shot.

DHS Secretary-Designee Karen Timberlake said more than 65,000 state residents received their first dose during the last 14 days. But she said some had not taken an important next step.

DHS Secretary-Designee Karen Timberlake
DHS Secretary-Designee Karen Timberlake

"You need to go to to actually register for the incentive. Then, there will be some further validation, making sure we have got the right people, we have got the right information. Then, six to eight weeks later, we will make sure that the card is mailed out to people," Timberlake said.

Timberlake explained the validation or review process.

"The data will be comparing those registrations to our Wisconsin Immunization Registry, which is a system we have been running for quite some time. We will be doing a lot of this matching in a very automated way, and it should not be a problem to get those incentive cards/reward cards out to people within that six-to-eight week time frame," Timberlake said.

Chuck Quirmbach
The recovery room in the Wisconsin Center, where people waited after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Timberlake said people can find open vaccination sites near them during the Labor Day weekend by visiting the website or calling the 2-1-1 helpline.

She said children as young as 12, the minimum eligible age for the vaccine, can qualify for the gift card.

Timberlake said the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) is funding the state reward program. She says the money will be there to activate the gift cards.

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