Back to School Shots: How Your Child is Being Programmed

Many parents already know that it is common practice for health departments, schools, and insurance companies to offer prizes to children and their families for being vaccinated. These programs have been implemented across the country and are designed to boost vaccination rates, rather than protect children’s health.

Prizes are also offered to health care providers who increase their immunization rates and fully immunize babies and toddlers within their practices.

However, parents may be surprised to learn about, later in this article, the massive amounts of money some doctors receive as bonus payments for vaccinating young patients. This article is a must-read for all parents, whether or not you have a child who will be resuming traditional school in the fall.

These Incentive Programs are Nothing New

Sadly, the idea to offer prizes in exchange for vaccinations has been around for decades or longer. A New York Times article from 1988 outlined the many ways our own city and state governments had already misguidedly encouraged parents to vaccinate their children, including offering prize drawings for a new car, bicycles, and coupons for discounted meals at fast food restaurants. [1]

Children were encouraged to create designs for billboards to promote vaccination, at a time when health departments were facing declining vaccination rates, increasing costs, and growing vaccine schedules. Despite these concerns confronting public health departments, in 1988, children only needed 13 doses of ten vaccines by age 12, compared with 69 doses of 16 vaccines by age 18 today.  [2, 3]

On the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) own website, the organization admitted that “since 1988, the U.S. childhood immunization schedule has rapidly expanded.” The number of recommended vaccinations has increased over 414 percent since 1950, when children were vaccinated with only seven vaccines by age six. [4, 5]

As the number of recommended vaccines has increased, the incentive programs have become more numerous, too.

Immunize to Win a Prize, Thanks to the Government

The Community Guide, a website with ties to the CDC and Healthy People 2020, has a task force which “recommends client or family incentive rewards, used alone or in combination with additional interventions, based on sufficient evidence of effectiveness in increasing vaccination rates in children and adults.” [6]

Health departments across the country are heeding these ill-advised words.

In southeastern Idaho, the public health department is offering Kindle Fire tablets in monthly drawings for children who receive vaccines at special clinics. They are offering a total of 24 tablet devices each month to entice children and parents into accepting vaccines.

Their state health department claims that “legally, in order to enter kindergarten, children are required to have five DTaP, two MMR, four Polio, three Hepatitis B, two Varicella (Chickenpox), and two Hepatitis A” vaccinations.

However, the press release fails to disclose that in Idaho, parents may file a medical, philosophical, or religious exemption from those vaccines on behalf of their children. [7, 8]

In Kansas, health departments in 105 counties have recently offered an outreach incentive program called “Immunize and Win a Prize,” targeting children under the age of two. Children must complete 19 vaccine doses before their second birthday in order for their parents to be eligible to win a prize, including a $200 or $300 utility bill payment at each of 380 participating providers and 300 smaller prizes. The program also provides petty incentives like sippy cups and diaper wipes. [9, 10]

This program was instituted in 2003 and all children are now eligible to participate, not just children who participate in Medicaid programs. Since its 2003 inception, immunization rates in Kansas have risen from 49 percent to 87 percent in 2010. In some counties, immunization rates have even doubled.

In Montana, a local news site informs readers that “all children who attend public and private schools in Montana are required to have specific, age-dependent immunizations,” also failing to note that medical and religious exemptions are available for families to opt out of vaccination. School-age children who are vaccinated early in the summer, before the back-to-school rush, are eligible to win prizes, including “iPods, bikes, backpacks, school supplies and passes to the Alpine Slide at Big Mountain at Glacier National Park,” courtesy of the state health department. [11]

In Minnesota, families who participate in state health care programs are eligible to receive hundreds of dollars in gift cards for vaccinating their children and attending frequent well-child visits, which can be opportunities to pressure parents to obtain vaccinations for their children. [12]

On its primitively designed website, one county in Wyoming boasts about its “enjoyable immunization incentive program,” which offers small weekly prizes and claims that “timely immunizations are healthy and fun.” [13]

Prizes from Insurance Companies

One insurance company, Unity Insurance, promotes its own incentive program, “Fill it In and Win,” which offers cash prizes ranging from $25 to $150 to children who have been fully immunized by their 24 month birthday. [14, 15]

One vaccine advocacy organization, Partnership for Prevention, encourages insurance companies to increase vaccination rates by offering their policy holders monetary rewards, gift cards, or discounted insurance premiums when they accept vaccinations. [16]

Humana health insurance company and John Hancock life insurance company offer policy holders “Vitality Points” to earn gift cards and fitness trackers when they complete certain “healthy” behaviors, including getting a flu shot. [17, 18]

Medical health plans offer hundreds of dollars worth of Visa gift cards to families who complete a series of well-child visits from birth to age 20, which offers providers dozens of chances to vaccinate pediatric patients. [19]

Prizes for Providers

In Michigan, nine counties participated in a health department program called “Adolescent Rate Challenge (ARC),” which offered trivial prizes to health care providers who increased their vaccination rates among adolescent patients. The program goals included administering 17 doses of vaccines to children ages 11 through 18. [20]

Nearly laughable prizes awarded to participating providers included a family chicken dinner and a half-day pass to a local water park, as well as prizes for the office staff, including “Smoothies & Cookies, Desserts Delight, Parfait Splendor, Pizza & Pop Party, Espressos & Bagel Spread.” The website even noted that a bonus prize, a smoothie machine, had been added to the program.

Most disturbingly of all, Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance company offers health care providers a massive $400 bonus for every child patient who is vaccinated with at least 24 doses of ten vaccines before the age of two. For family practitioners and pediatricians who have dozens or hundreds of young patients, this bonus could add up to tens of thousands of dollars. [21]


Where are the government-based incentives offering prizes to parents who read to their children? Or rewards for parents who provide their children with adequate levels of vitamin D to boost their immune systems, instead of rewarding them with meager incentives for injecting their children with toxins?

This article outlines a mere fraction of the publicly and privately sponsored incentive programs in existence designed to pressure parents to vaccinate their children. If vaccines are so safe and effective, why do organizations need to provide toys, gift cards, money, and other prizes to boost vaccination rates in the United States? How can parents trust their health care providers to offer unbiased, fact-based information about vaccines, when those doctors receive enormous financial incentives for vaccinating their patients?

Please share this article to help other parents avoid vaccinating their children with toxic ingredients in order to win a prize. The costs of vaccine injuries, including developmental delays, symptoms of autism, seizures, and more, are too great and long-lasting to justify vaccination, especially in pursuit of a trivial prize.



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About the author

Missy Fluegge

Missy Fluegge is the mom of three children who have taught her abundantly about life, more than she learned in over sixteen years of formal schooling. Her passions include mothering, teaching fine arts, researching and serving as a parent educator. Many years ago, she traded her nightstand for a bookshelf, which always holds at least a dozen books-in-progress, mostly non-fiction reads that support her fairytale notion of saving the world one person at a time.