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ST. PAUL — Minnesota on Friday, July 30, is set to start paying people $100 to get vaccinated against COVID-19, Gov. Tim Walz said.

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Walz in a Thursday, July 29, news release said the state would follow President Joe Biden's guidance and dole out Visa gift cards to Minnesotans 12 and older that got their first dose before Aug. 15. The initial $2.5 million for the incentive program would come from federal COVID-19 relief funding, and additional funding would require approval from the state Legislature or private donations or grants.

“President Biden is calling for a nationwide push to make sure our families and communities are vaccinated and protected against COVID-19 and the delta variant, and Minnesota is ready to join the effort,” Walz said. “We have made so much progress to combat this virus. We cannot give up ground now, especially with students returning to the classroom this fall. Getting paid $100 to keep your family safe is a pretty good deal — all you have to do is roll up your sleeves.”

Minnesota health officials have again urged residents to get immunized against COVID-19 as the more infectious delta variant has taken hold in the state. Earlier in the day Thursday, they rolled out a campaign to get students 12 and older vaccinated before they return to school.

Those interested in getting vaccinated can contact their health care provider or search for appointment openings on the state's vaccination locator. Starting on Aug. 4, those that get the first dose can verify their vaccination at mn.gov/covid19 and claim their $100 gift card.

Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter @bydanaferguson, call 651-290-0707 or email dferguson@forumcomm.com