“Vax and Relax:’ Special happy hour to encourage COVID-19 shot in Short North

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – An evening out this week could include food, drinks, and a COVID-19 shot. On Thursday and Friday, Columbus Public Health is teaming up with the Short North Alliance and Stonewall Columbus for a “Vax and Relax” event.

The special happy hour between 4-7 p.m. will begin with a walk-in vaccine clinic at Stonewall Columbus. Then guests can show their dated vaccination card at one of the participating businesses for a free food item.

“Doing something like this is yet another way for locals here to support small businesses as they continue in their recovery from this incredible pandemic,” said Betsy Pandora, the executive director of the Short North Alliance.

She explained many of the businesses in the Short North Arts District are beginning to rebound from the health crisis and many are expecting the recovery to accelerate as more of the population is vaccinated.

“There’s a lot of data and research that shows folks are more apt to be returning to visiting and supporting businesses in-person the higher the rates of vaccinations,” Pandora said.

The special happy hour will welcome anyone, but is tailored specifically to attract young adults.

“That group, 20-29 years old, is still the age group that leads our cases.” Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts explained. “It’s obvious we want to target them and get them vaccinated as well so they can be safe.”

According to the Ohio Department of Health’s vaccine dashboard Wednesday morning, less than 30 percent of the age group is fully vaccinated. Dr. Roberts said many young adults don’t think they need the shot because they’ve already had the virus or they expect their symptoms would be mild if they did get infected.

She explained immunity from the vaccine is longer lasting and more effective than from the active virus and said lower vaccination rates increase the chances for new variants to appear in the community.

“They could spread it to someone else who might not have mild symptoms,” Dr. Roberts said. “And it could be one of their friends who has an underlying medical condition that could predispose them to more complications of the virus.”

No advanced registration is necessary to participate in the “Vax and Relax” event. A second happy hour will happen on June 17-18 to allow those who choose the Pfizer vaccine to get their second dose.

Find more information and a list of available specials by clicking on this link.

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