COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Columbus Public Health still has gift cards available for its Vax Cash program.

People receiving their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine can get a $100 Visa gift card.

So far, Columbus Public Health has given out more than $2 million in gift cards, with almost 21,000 people taking advantage of the program.

Columbus Public Health Director Dr. Mysheika Roberts estimates 75 percent of those people would not have been vaccinated without the program.

Eddie Rushin, 10, did not know he was going to get a $100 gift card with his first COVID-19 shot, but it made the experience even better.

“And it was just like, ‘1, 2, 3,’ and then it was done,” he said. “It didn’t hurt that much.”

Houston Kauffman, 11, got his first shot and a gift card on Wednesday as well. His mother Lindsey said her son would have gotten the shot even if there wasn’t an incentive.

“I think it’s wonderful,” Lindsey Kauffman said. “If there needs to be just a little extra motivation to help get people here to get their shots, that’s great.”

Roberts said the program continues to be a big success. It started with 470 gift cards over the summer and has been extended several times due to high demand.

According to Columbus Public Health, almost 21,000 gift cards have been given out.

“To me, the proof is in the numbers,” Roberts said. “Almost 21,000 people who have been vaccinated with our Vax for Cash program and we’ve been able to make a difference and make a dent in our highly socially vulnerable neighborhoods, primarily our neighborhoods of color. I think that is where the proof is.”

Roberts said the more than $2 million spent for the program is worth it when considered against the costs of someone getting COVID-19.

“Absolutely think it’s been worth it,” she said. “That we’ve been able to get almost 21,000 individuals vaccinated as a result of this Vax for Cash program and that cost us $100 a person.”

Roberts is concerned the program may run out soon and is working on ways to get funding to keep the program going through the end of the year.

For more details on how to get the gift card and where to get any COVID-19 shot, including boosters, click here.