Incentive programs aimed at encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations among hesitant residents proved successful, according to health officials who were pleased by community turnout at a San Mateo County Fair clinic.
“At this point in the vaccination effort, it’s really about creativity and taking advantage of opportunities where people are gathering already in addition to making other options available,” Dr. Anand Chabra, the section chief of COVID-19 mass vaccination and medical director of Family Health Services, said.
San Mateo County partnered with the San Mateo County Event Center to offer free entry, food vouchers and ride tickets to anyone who was vaccinated at the county fair, estimated to be a $50 package.
Nearly 1,250 fairgoers took advantage of the opportunity, with 977 people opting for Pfizer Inc. doses and an additional 271 receiving the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Those who received Pfizer doses will have the opportunity to return to the event center for their second shots in July.
With a soft daily cap of 4,500 doses allocated for the seven-day event, Chabra acknowledged that far more residents could have been vaccinated but was content with the number reached.
“I feel like it worked really well and I believe it reached people that would not have been reached,” Chabra said. “That was our hope and I’m very pleased.”
The state has a series of its own incentives including $50,000 cash prizes for 30 vaccinated Californians and $1.5 million cash prizes for 10 additional vaccinated residents. The first 2 million people to be vaccinated starting May 27 were also eligible to win a $50 gift card.
On Monday, June 14, the governor announced additional incentives for residents ages 18 and older who all were entered into the state’s Dream Vacation “Golden State Giveaway.” Eligible residents now have the chance to win one of six vacation packages based in San Diego, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Anaheim and San Francisco.
Vaccinated residents will also have access to free food and discounted merchandise on Tuesday, June 15, to celebrate the state’s reopening, including one free seasoned beef Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos tacos at Taco Bell and free queso blanco with the purchase of a regular item at Chipotle. From June 15 to 20 shoppers can get a 20% discount at the Golden State Warriors gift shop and 15% off on Lakers, Clippers, Sparks, Galaxy and Kings merchandise.
In addition to the state deals, Kaiser Permanente members and those vaccinated through the medical provider by July 9 will have the opportunity to win prizes through its ImmUNITY Sweepstakes. Prizes include a family trip to Disneyland, a national park prize pack, a wellness retreat, healthy meal delivery, gym membership or personal fitness equipment.
“Kaiser Permanente is partnering with the White House on its inspiring and far-reaching effort to reach 70% vaccination among adults by July 4 in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. and return to normal life. COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing infection, serious illness and death, and we recommend that all eligible people ages 12 and up get vaccinated,” Kaiser Permanente said.
With more than 84% of San Mateo County residents ages 12 and older having been vaccinated, or roughly 666,200 people, Chabra said vaccinating the remaining population will take sustained effort.
Officials have also discussed potentially offering incentives at future stable and pop-up vaccination events, he said.
“We know it’s going to take more effort to reach people who have not been reached so far and for whatever reason have got those barriers,” Chabra said.
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