From a chance to win the lottery to discounts on grocery tabs, Wisconsin residents who have yet to receive the COVID-19 vaccine are now able to get incentives for getting the shot in the arm.

A Wisconsin man played a key role in the development of a smartphone application and a web platform that brings together more than $168 million worth of nationwide incentives people can get if they get a COVID-19 vaccine as immunization rates continue to decline.

Bright Mind Enrichment and Schooling senior writer Neil Kleven of Milwaukee was central to outreach for the Vaccination Rewards project, according to BME Executive Director Craig Kaufman.

The app features an interactive map and framework that allows searching by location, provides estimated dollar values per reward and lets users navigate directly to rewarding companies’ websites. BME also updates rewards information on all major social media platforms.

“There are a lot of people out there who are unaware of the plethora of incentives available,” Kleven said. “I wanted to use my creative abilities to create content to promote the app and platform. I truly hope the word gets out about our service.”

The Vaccination Rewards platform aggregates all private and public offers and promotions on the Google Play App Store through the Vaccine Rewards App and through the vaccinationrewards .org website, which lists incentive programs by state.

Incentives can range from $10 off coupons at Meijer stores in Wisconsin or free tickets to a Chicago music series in Illinois.

The incentives app and website were created and are maintained by volunteers. The ultimate goal is to help get 70% of people nationwide vaccinated—a target President Joe Biden had hoped to reach by July 4.

In Rock County, 49.9% of residents have received at least one dose of a two-shot vaccine, and 46.9% of residents have completed vaccination, according to Wisconsin Department of Health Services data.

Weekly vaccination rates in Rock County peaked the week of April 4 when 9,810 doses were administered. Since then, vaccinations have dropped to 1,398 weekly doses in the county as of the week of July 4, DHS data shows.

The downward trend in vaccinations is also reflected across Wisconsin and countrywide. In Wisconsin, 50.8% of residents have received one dose and 48% have completed vaccination. Vaccine rates also peaked the week of April 4 in Wisconsin when 428,303 doses were administered. The most recent week available shows that 36,247 doses were administered over the July 4 weekly reporting period, per DHS data.

Nationwide, 55.5% of residents have received at least one dose and 48% have completed vaccination, CDC data shows.


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