Cities, States Offer to Pay Kids to Get Vaccinated

Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

As millions of children between ages 5-11 became eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine this week, several cities and states are including them in vaccine incentive programs that offer cash and giveaways.

In New York City, for instance, children can claim $100 if they receive their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at a city-operated vaccine site. As an alternate choice, they can receive tickets to city attractions such as the Statue of Liberty or the Brooklyn Cyclones baseball team.

“We really want kids to take advantage, families take advantage of that,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.

“Everyone could use a little more money around the holidays,” he said. “But, most importantly, we want our kids and our families to be safe.”

In Chicago, health officials are offering $100 gift cards to children who get vaccinated at public health events or clinics. The Chicago school district is also closing on Nov. 12 for Vaccination Awareness Day so students can get shots.

“It is rare that we make a late change to the school calendar, but we see this as an important investment in the future of this school year and the health and well-being of our students, staff and families,” Pedro Martinez, the CEO for Chicago Public Schools, said in a message to parents.

The CDC cleared the COVID-19 shot for children as young as age 5 on Tuesday, making most Americans eligible for the vaccine. Ages 5-11 receive one-third of the dose given to adults and teens.

Other states and cities are offering incentives as well:

  • San Antonio, Texas: Parents and guardians who take their children to get vaccinated at a Metro Health clinic can receive a $100 gift card for H-E-B grocery stores.

  • Louisiana: As part of the “Shot for $100” program, anyone who receives their first shot is eligible for $100. Children between ages 5-11 can receive the cash incentive but require parental consent to get the vaccine.

  • Minnesota: As part of the “Kids Deserve a Shot!” program, ages 12-17 can receive a $200 gift card and the opportunity to enter a raffle for a $100,000 college scholarship.


CNN: “These states and cities are offering to pay kids if they get vaccinated.”

City of San Antonio: “Metro Health to Offer Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine to Children, 5-11, Beginning November 10.”

Louisiana Department of Health: “Shot for $100 vaccine incentive program extended to Nov. 30.”

Minnesota COVID-19 Response: “Kids Deserve a Shot!”

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