Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



No plans for vaccination incentives in North Dakota as Minnesota rolls out rewards program

Conversations about an incentive program in North Dakota are ongoing in Gov. Doug Burgum's office, a spokesperson said, but the state has no immediate plans to implement them.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum appears at a COVID-19 news conference in this November 2020 file photo. (Kyle Martin / Forum News Service)

Editor’s note: Beginning next week, we will offer a weekly wrap-up of COVID-19 statistics and trends in the state. The daily state COVID-19 updates will be discontinued after this week.

BISMARCK — North Dakota has no plans to implement a vaccine incentive program, a spokesman for Gov. Doug Burgum said Thursday, May 27, as the second-term Republican's counterpart in Minnesota debuted modest rewards for 100,000 new vaccine recipients in his state.

In an effort to combat the plateauing COVID-19 vaccination rates across the country, many governors have unveiled novel programs over the last month in hopes of incentivizing more people to get the shot. States across the political spectrum have lately rolled out new incentive structures. Among them, West Virginia's Republican governor announced $100 savings bonds and gift cards for young people who get the shot, New Jersey's Democratic governor partnered with breweries for a "shot and beer" campaign, and the Republican governor of Ohio has drawn national attention for handing out college scholarship opportunities and a series of $1 million lottery tickets to the newly vaccinated.

In Minnesota, Gov. Tim Walz , a Democrat, announced a new incentive program Thursday offering small gift cards, free fishing licenses and trips to summer destinations in the state to the next 100,000 vaccine recipients.

Conversations about an incentive program in North Dakota are ongoing in the governor's office, Burgum spokesman Mike Nowatzki said, but the state has no immediate plans to implement them. Nowatzki did not elaborate on any of specific ideas that the governor's office has discussed.


In an interview earlier this month, Burgum noted that "it's tough right now" as the state has had to transition from "rationing" vaccine doses to "marketing" them to a more hesitant population.

"It really has to be around incentives versus requirements to try to encourage people to get over" vaccine hesitancy, Burgum said at the time.

The governor pointed to the recent creative solutions in other states as intriguing ideas, but noted that tackling the problem will likely hinge on targeted, local efforts as well as individual patient conversations with their doctors.

Following are the North Dakota Department of Health COVID-19 case rates, deaths, hospitalizations and vaccinations as of Thursday. Because all data is preliminary, some numbers and totals may change from one day to the next.

Statewide case rates

  • NEW CASES: 40
  • TOTAL CASES: 109,820
  • TOTAL RECOVERED: 107,802

North Dakota's active case count dropped by 24 on Thursday. Burleigh County, which includes Bismarck, leads the state with 80 active cases, while Cass County, which includes Fargo, has 72 active cases. The two-week rolling average positivity rate is 3.5%.

Hospitalizations, deaths



  • TOTAL DEATHS: 1,510


  • FIRST DOSE ADMINISTERED: 291,417 (48.8% of population)

  • COMPLETED SERIES (2 doses): 270,714 (45.3% of population)

The percent of North Dakotans who have received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine has inched up by just over 2 points since late April. The health department urges residents 12 and older to get vaccinated and seek information at www.health.nd.gov/covidvaccinelocator .

As a public service, we’ve opened this article to everyone regardless of subscription status. If this coverage is important to you, please consider supporting local journalism by clicking on the subscribe button in the upper righthand corner of the homepage.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Adam Willis, a Report for America corps member, at awillis@forumcomm.com.


What To Read Next
Get Local