North Carolina

NC expands vaccine incentives to Gaston, Cleveland counties

NORTH CAROLINA — Starting this week, North Carolina is expanding an incentive program that gives a $25 gift card to anyone over the age of 18 who gets their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, or drives someone to get their shot.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services launched the program in May in ten counties (Mecklenburg, Guilford, Rowan, Rockingham, Alamance, Cabarrus, Chatham, Onslow, Scotland and Vance). Those counties have distributed 1,700 cash cards to recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine and more than 700 cards to drivers.

The $25 Summer Card Program will now be available at participating vaccination clinics in  Ashe, Cleveland, Gaston, Stanly and Watauga counties too. Other participating counties include Alleghany, Beaufort, Bertie, Buncombe, Caswell, Cumberland, Duplin, Edgecombe, Greene, Guilford, Harnett, Hertford, Jackson, Johnston, Lee, Lenoir, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, New Hanover, Orange, Pamlico, Pender, Person, Pitt, Robeson, Rockingham, Rutherford, Wake, Wayne and Wilson.

A survey at pilot program locations found that over 40% of participants said that having someone drive them was a key reason they got vaccinated at a Summer Card event. 25% of people surveyed cited the Summer Card inventive as the reason why they decided to get the vaccine that day.

North Carolina also launched a $1 million lottery to help boost vaccine numbers. Anyone 18 and over who’s gotten at least one dose is automatically entered to win.

In North Carolina, 41% of people over the age of 12 are fully vaccinated and 44% have had their first dose. The urgency to get more people vaccinated is increasing because of the rapid spread of the Delta variant in the United States, including North Carolina, according to NCDHHS. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that the Delta variant is a “variant of concern”, because it spreads faster than the current COVID-19 variants.