Colorado's latest vaccine incentives: $100 Walmart gift cards, scholarships for community college

colorado covid shot
Posted at 4:25 PM, Jul 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-22 08:46:50-04

DENVER – Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on Wednesday announced two new incentive programs the state hopes will push the 10-15% of Coloradans who have not been vaccinated yet but might still want to be to get their shot.

The state will start giving away $100 Walmart gift cards to Coloradans who get their first or second shots at certain state-operated vaccine sites across the state – some of which will start offering the incentive starting Thursday.

Starting Thursday, people can get the gift cards if they get vaccinated at certain sites in Nederland, Aurora, Alamosa, Hooper, Denver, Loveland, Cañon City, Pueblo and Delta. More sites will open and offer the incentive in the days and weeks to follow. For a full list, click here.

The gift cards will be activated 24 hours after a person receives their vaccine, the state says.

Additionally, the state’s community college system is partnering with Amazon to give out up to 67 scholarships — five, $1,000 scholarships for students at each of the state’s 13 community colleges and two $5,000 scholarships for two students across the community college system.

Students can click here to register before Sept. 15 in order to be eligible. Students who have already been vaccinated, or who receive the vaccine before the application deadline, will be eligible, said Joe Garcia, the chancellor of the Colorado Community College System.

Polis said 71% of adults across the state have received at least one shot, but that vaccination numbers among kids aged 12-17 are still in the 40-50% range.

That, paired with new data from the CDPHE showing more than 95% of people hospitalized in Colorado since January were not vaccinated and the fact that the delta variant now accounts for the majority of new cases, warranted the latest incentive program to boost vaccination rates.

Polis called the hospitalizations and deaths among the unvaccinated “entirely preventable.”

The governor said the state believes about 10-15% of the population will never want to get vaccinated but hopes the incentive programs and latest news on variants and vaccine efficacy will push those on the fence to get their shots.

“The vast majority of Coloradans are doing their part by getting vaccinated and we’re bringing vaccines to communities, workplaces and truly meeting Coloradans where they are at,” Polis said. “It is our shared hope that these new incentives will increase vaccinations and make our college campuses safer. We are leaving no stone unturned, exploring partnerships, providing accurate information and educating Coloradans about safe, free, easy vaccine options.”

The state also gave away five $1 million cash prizes for vaccinated adults and rounds of higher education scholarships for teenagers who got vaccinated earlier this year.