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Health & Science
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Summit County Public Health Offers New Incentive to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine

a photo of a vaccination sign at Summit County Public Health
Sarah Taylor
/
WKSU
Summit County Public Health will give away gift cards a vaccination drive-thru Friday.

Summit County Public Health will begin offering a new incentive for people to get the COVID-19 vaccine this week. Residents who receive the first dose at a health department clinic will get a $100 Visa or Mastercard gift card starting Friday.

Public Health Commissioner Donna Skoda says they previously had great results offering smaller incentives, such as bus passes and 20-dollar gift cards.

Skoda on full FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine
Health Commissioner Donna Skoda

“Pfizer is fully approved now, so hopefully the combination between the approval and the gift card will motivate those who are kind of sitting on the fence to be able to do it.”

The health department will offer all three COVID vaccine options. Today the FDA gave full approval to the Pfizer vaccine, and Skoda estimates that could increase the vaccination rate nationwide by 5%. But she’s concerned there could be a winter surge if not enough people get vaccinated now.

The gift card incentive will start this Friday with a drive thru clinic at the health department from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Skoda says they have 1,000 gift cards to give out, but if it’s successful, they may ask the state to fund more.

Skoda says vaccinations have been trending upward in the county even before the FDA’s announcement today. In the past few weeks, she says about 200 people per week have been getting vaccinated.

Skoda says Summit County's vaccination rate is increasing
Donna Skoda, Summit County Health Department

“This last week we were somewhere, almost 350 something, 354, I think, so we were doing much better on the vaccine front, almost double.”

She remains hopeful the FDA’s approval of Pfizer coupled with the new incentive program will encourage more people to get vaccinated.