Weeks after gift cards boosted vaccine rates in some counties, NC eyes vaccine lottery

Weeks after asserting that 4 N.C. counties, together with Mecklenburg, would start providing $25 gift cards as incentives at COVID-19 vaccination clinics, Gov. Roy Cooper is anticipated to announce a vaccine lottery Thursday afternoon.

That would super-charge the incentives meant to draw individuals to get the coronavirus vaccine.

Earlier this month at a Charlotte vaccine clinic, Cooper mentioned he was contemplating launching a vaccine lottery, much like the million-dollar drawing in Ohio for vaccine recipients. Cooper is anticipated to announce a money drawing for vaccine recipients at Three p.m. on Thursday.

The $25 gift card initiative, the state’s first vaccine incentive, was launched May 26 in Rowan, Guilford and Rockingham counties in addition to Mecklenburg.

As of June 8, StarMed Healthcare in Mecklenburg County had given out $74,300 in gift cards — almost 3,000 cards to vaccine recipients and drivers. And Mecklenburg County Public Health started providing $25 gift cards at sure vaccine clinics beginning June 2.

The gift cards incentive has confirmed to be much more efficient than anticipated, Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris instructed county commissioners Tuesday.

“All of our clinics where we’ve had cash cards available over the past week have seen significant increases,” she mentioned.

NC Gov. Roy Cooper is anticipated to announce a vaccine lottery to observe the COVID-19 vaccine gift card program.

That contains one clinic on the Northwest Health Department. The week earlier than providing gift cards, that clinic gave vaccines to 2 individuals, Harris mentioned.

That quantity grew when the clinic started providing gift cards. Last week, the clinic served 40 individuals, she mentioned.

Still, state knowledge present the speed of vaccinations in Mecklenburg and the opposite three counties providing gift cards have slowed in latest weeks.

But the gift cards have solely been made out there at just a few clinics in every county.

A nudge to these on the fence

Rockingham County’s Division of Public Health has provided 150 gift cards since May 25. Besides its personal clinics, the county additionally hosted clinics at two neighborhood websites, McMichael High School and Mill Ave. Recreation Center, on June 5 with the gift cards.

“Personally, I think it’s an awesome incentive the state is offering. Especially for those (who) are on the fence and/or have transportation as a barrier,” county Health Education Program Manager Katrina White mentioned in an electronic mail.

The county dealt with 747 vaccines in May, and 186 in June as of Thursday, together with second doses. But White mentioned appointments are fluid and it’s too early to inform the impact of the motivation.

Officials from Rowan and Guilford counties didn’t instantly reply to the Observer.

NC COVID vaccination rates

As of Wednesday, 54% of North Carolina residents age 18 and older have gotten not less than one COVID-19 shot, in accordance with state Department of Health and Human Services knowledge.

That’s nonetheless far beneath President Joe Biden’s proposed vaccination aim of 70% of adults vaccinated by July 4.

And that’s one purpose the governor is pushing for extra vaccine incentives.

“Remember, when you get this vaccine, not only are you protecting yourself, you’re protecting your family, your friends, and anybody else who you might come in contact with,” Cooper mentioned June 3. “… We have people dying, most every day — still — of this virus, so it is not over.”

The (Raleigh) News & Observer’s David Raynor contributed

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