RALEIGH, N.C. — Interested in a little extra spending money for the upcoming holiday weekend? Health officials in four North Carolina counties will offer $25 incentives for those who’ve yet to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The state Department of Health and Human Services announced a pilot program starting Wednesday at certain vaccine sites in Mecklenburg, Guilford, Rowan and Rockingham counties.
Rowan County’s interim health director told Channel 9′s Tina Terry, “We are hopeful that the cash card program will increase uptake of vaccinations. This effort shows that the state understands the investment and time off that individuals must take to go and get their vaccine.”
Adults who get their first vaccination dose at the sites or drive someone for that first-dose appointment will receive $25 cash cards.
“For people who’ve been on the fence and haven’t taken the initiative, let’s see. Let’s at least try something,” Mecklenburg County resident Andrea Villegas said.
The “Summer Cash Cards” will be available through June 8 while supplies last. The State Employees Credit Union is providing the cards for the pilot program.
The incentive is another effort by DHHS to boost vaccination rates entering the summer. The North Carolina Zoo offered last week a free ticket for those that received their first vaccination at a clinic on the zoo property. A similar offer will occur June 10-12.
More than 52% of the adult population in North Carolina had received at least one dose as of late last week and 47% are full vaccinated, according to DHHS data.
Officials said 29.4% of the Mecklenburg County population is fully vaccinated compared to 37% in Wake County, a county of similar size.
State numbers also show 20.7% of the population is fully vaccinated in Rowan County, a number that does not include vaccinations at the Salisbury VA Medical Center.
“The pilot program will help the state gain experience in offering $25 cash cards for vaccine recipients and drivers to help people overcome the barriers of time, expense, and transportation to get vaccinated. To quickly and efficiently gain experience and learn how to make the program most effective, the state picked counties around large population centers where more people would have the chance to get vaccinated with the summer cash card offering.
Summer cash cards for drivers are for those who are not otherwise being paid to provide transportation, such as taxi, Uber or Lyft drivers.”
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Cox Media Group