ST. PAUL — Gov. Tim Walz announced Monday, Aug. 23, the conclusion of Minnesota's $100 reward program for newly vaccinated residents after nearly 80,000 people signed up for the cash incentive.

Calling the program a "great success" in a news release Monday, Walz's office renewed a pledge to work with the Minnesota Legislature to develop other incentives aimed at increase the state's COVID-19 vaccination rate. A legislative commission in Minnesota that oversees some spending measures related to the coronavirus pandemic previously approved $13.8 million in state funding for the $100 program, according to the release.

Federal pandemic relief funds provided the $2.5 million used to launch the program in late July.

"This program went a long way toward increasing statewide vaccination rates and building the community program we need against the virus," Walz said in a statement. "

The governor's office touted the incentive program Monday as federal health authorities granted full approval to the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. Theirs is the first vaccine against COVID-19 to receive full U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for individuals 16 years of age and older, having previously been granted emergency use authorization.

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The Pfizer vaccine remains available to younger children on an emergency use basis. In a statement, Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock that the agency's decision Monday could "instill additional confidence to get vaccinated."

"While this and other vaccines have met the FDA's rigorous, scientific standards for emergency use authorization, as the first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, the public can be very confident that this vaccine meets the high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality the FDA requires of an approved product," she said.

In a separate release, Walz on Monday called the FDA development "exciting news" and urged Minnesotans to "roll up your sleeves and get your shot."

The governor's office credited the incentive program with boosting Minnesota's vaccination rate from a seven-day average of 2,675 first-round shots per day last month to 4,955 Monday. Only residents who received their first shot on or after July 30 were eligible for the incentive, which came in the form of a prepaid gift card.

A total of 79,810 requests, more than half of which came from Minnesotans younger than 50, were submitted online for the program between then and Monday, according to Walz's office. The highest rate of requests per capita were recorded in Brown, Carlton, Sherburne, Mille Lacs and Chisago counties.

Following are the Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 case rates, deaths, hospitalizations and vaccinations published Monday. Because all data are preliminary, some numbers and totals may change from one day to the next.

Vaccinations

  • FIRST DOSE ADMINISTERED: 3,128,393 people, or 70.9% of residents age 16 and older

  • COMPLETED SERIES (2 DOSES): 2,948,342 people, or 66.81% of residents age 16 and older

  • CHILDREN AGES 12-15 WITH AT LEAST VACCINE DOSE: 146,238

  • CHILDREN AGES 12-15 WHO HAVE COMPLETED SERIES: 116,717

Breakthrough cases

Breakthrough cases involve the detection of SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in a patient who completed their vaccination regiment at least 14 days earlier. The Minnesota Department of Health publishes breakthrough case information every Monday.

  • TOTAL CASES: 9,664, or 0.32% of fully vaccinated Minnesotans. (As of July 25.)
  • TOTAL HOSPITALIZATIONS: 682, or 0.023% fully vaccinated Minnesotans. (As of July 25.)
  • TOTAL DEATHS: 69, or 0.002% of fully vaccinated Minnesotans. (As of July 25.)

Statewide case rates

  • NEW CASES: 1,673
  • SEVEN-DAY, ROLLING AVERAGE OF NEW CASES PER 100,000 PEOPLE: 20.8 (as of Aug. 13)

  • TOTAL CASES: 635,222
  • PATIENTS NO LONGER NEEDING ISOLATION: 616,344

  • SEVEN-DAY, ROLLING AVERAGE TEST POSITIVITY RATE: 5.5% (As of Aug. 13.)

Hospitalizations, deaths

  • ACTIVE HOSPITALIZATIONS: 514 (As of Aug. 20.)

  • TOTAL HOSPITALIZATIONS: 34,466

  • DEATHS, NEWLY REPORTED: 7

  • TOTAL DEATHS: 7,767

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