Colorado launches new vaccine incentives for scholarships, $100 store gift cards

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DENVER (KDVR) — A new vaccine incentive program in Colorado is aimed at community college students.

Community college students who are vaccinated or get vaccinated can register by Sept. 15 to win one of 67 scholarships.

Gov. Jared Polis, the chancellor of the Colorado Community College System and an Amazon representative announced the partnership Wednesday.

Chancellor Joe Garcia said Amazon is helping fund the initiative.

“They are going to be giving us $75,000, and with that $75,000, we are going to be able to offer — at each of our 13 colleges — five $1,000 scholarships,” Garcia said. “And then systemwide, we are going to pick two students, and they will each receive a $5,000 scholarship.”

Students can find a link to the registration form at CCCS.edu.

The governor also announced another partnership and incentive program.

Starting Thursday, the state will be offering $100 Walmart gift cards, while supplies last, to people who get vaccinated at specific sites in under-vaccinated areas.

“Folks in the area will get a text update. They can come and get a $100 Walmart gift certificate that will be activated within 24 hours,” Polis said.

Polis: not trying to change minds

The governor says he knows these campaigns will not change minds, but they are targeting people who think they’ll get vaccinated one day but have just been putting it off.

“That’s who this is geared after. It drives people for immediacy to be part of a contest. It drives people to pick up $100 if they are at Walmart,” Polis said.

Earlier in the summer, the state launched its $1 million vaccine lottery campaign. Our Data Desk looked at the data surrounding the effectiveness of that campaign.

How incentives impact vaccination rates

It’s hard to know exactly what kind of impact the administration’s vaccine incentives have, because there’s no alternate timeline to compare it to. However, we do know that earlier incentives didn’t lead to significantly more people getting vaccines. Many people had already been vaccinated by then.

According to data, there was an 8% bump in vaccination rates after the governor’s second announcement of the $1 million vaccine lottery winner, but that trend didn’t keep up.

On June 10, there was an average of 20,000 daily vaccines administered in Colorado. That average fell every day since then and has leveled out at around 6,500 per day – the lowest rate since the beginning of 2021.

As of Wednesday, 71% of adults in the state have received at least one dose of vaccine.

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