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OSHKOSH, Wis. – Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Monday unveiled a cash-incentive plan intended to motivate Wisconsinites to get their COVID-19 vaccines.

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“As our kids start returning back to school, and with the delta variant spreading rapidly across the state, we all need to step up and stop the spread, and our COVID-19 vaccines are the best tools we have to do just that,” Evers said during a news conference in Oshkosh.

“I’m calling on all eligible Wisconsinites who have not gotten their COVID-19 vaccine yet to step up, roll up their sleeve, and do their part to help protect our state and put an end to COVID-19,” he added.

Specifically, Evers said any Wisconsin resident who gets their first dose of the vaccine by Labor Day on Sept. 6 will receive a prepaid $100 Visa gift card, WISN reported.

The program also extends to any Wisconsinite who has received a COVID-19 vaccine jab since Aug. 20, and residents must register on a state website after getting the vaccine in order to receive the $100 incentive, the TV station reported.

Wisconsin residents who received either or both of their vaccination jabs prior to Aug. 20 are not eligible for the incentive program.

Evers acknowledged during the news conference that he had been skeptical of creating an incentive program but changed his mind after seeing results of Michigan’s program that provides cash prizes ranging from $50,000 to $2 million, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

“I’ll be quite frank with you. I was one of the skeptics of the discussion, but I saw how well this particular program worked in the state of Michigan. Time for me to move beyond that and do the incentive,” he said.

Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services will verify vaccine status with the Wisconsin Immunization Registry to determine who receives the incentive payments, which could take as many as six weeks to process, WISN reported.

“COVID-19 is continuing to spread and mutate into highly transmissible variants like the delta variant. Fortunately, the science and data are showing us that we can protect ourselves and our loved ones by getting vaccinated,” DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake told the TV station, characterizing the inoculations as “safe” and “highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death.”

“And they are critical to protecting our kids, our health care workers, and the most vulnerable people in our state. Let’s not give COVID-19 the opportunity to keep mutating: Roll up your sleeve, get your vaccine, and claim your $100,” Timberlake added.

The program will be funded by federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars, the Journal Sentinel reported.

As of Friday, 50% of Wisconsin residents had received both doses of the vaccine, WISN reported.

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