Walz promises COVID testing expansion, vaccine incentives

Published 8:27 am Friday, October 15, 2021

DULUTH — Gov. Tim Walz says his administration will soon announce expanded COVID-19 testing options and launch new incentives to get teenagers vaccinated.

Minnesota Public Radio reported Walz made the remarks Thursday morning while touring a testing site Duluth.

The governor said the administration plans to “massively expand” testing capacity statewide. Meanwhile, state health officials are seeking donations of services, products and unique experiences to offer 12- to 17-year-olds who get vaccinated.

The incentives will expand to 5- to 11-year-olds if they’re approved for shots, Walz said. He anticipates that age group will become eligible by the last week in October or the first week of November.

He urged people to get vaccinated, saying 87% of Minnesotans hospitalized with COVID-19 and all 25 people who died of it Thursday were not inoculated.

“These are the most tested and used vaccines that we have seen,” Walz said. “They were decades in the development of this. And to not do so not only puts you, your family (at risk), but it puts your community at risk.”