Columbus Public Health encouraged by early success of COVID vaccine gift card program

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — In an effort to get the COVID-19 vaccination rate up in Franklin County, Columbus Public Health is offering a cash incentive for those who roll up their sleeve and get the shot.

This is the second week Columbus Public Health is giving out $100 Visa gift cards for first-time vaccine recipients in Franklin County. Within an hour of opening one of the 10 vaccine sites, the Linden Community Center vaccinated more than 30 people.

Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts said more than 900 people were vaccinated during the first week.

“The first week was a huge success,” she said. “We saw 136 percent increase than the number of people who came for their first dose of vaccines. We’re pretty pleased with that. We gave out 943 vaccines. Which equates to 943 gift cards.”

Roberts also saw an increase of two groups coming to get vaccinated.

“We are reaching a very diverse community and we are getting most of our community from the Black and brown community,” Roberts said.

However, she wants to note Franklin County is not in the clear yet.

“We just barely have 50 percent of our county vaccinated, so that means 50 percent are unprotected,” Roberts said.

She also wants to remind people the Delta variant is of concern for those unvaccinated. In this new round of vaccine efforts, she said Columbus Public Health is trying a new educational approach in efforts to get more people vaccinated.

“We’ve tried to do differently with this promotion is not only did we create a flyer where people can get the vaccine and let them know about the $100 vaccine initiative, but we also answered some of their basic questions on the back of the flyers,” Roberts said. “Some concerns they had about the efficacy of the vaccine, the safety of the vaccine.”

Columbus Public Health also has health educators and translators at the vaccination sites, and are working to get new Americans informed and vaccinated as well.

“We’ve got to get more in our community vaccinated,” Roberts said.

In order to qualify for the gift cards, you must be a Franklin County resident and be getting your first dose at one of 10 vaccination sites. For more information, visit the Columbus Public Health website.

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