AUGUSTA, Georgia (WJBF) – Commissioners started Vax Up! when Delta was surging, but now it’s the omicron variant making people sick.
The incentive program helped get shots in arms and thousands of gift cards in hands.
Christ Community Health has been a city vaccine partner since day one, and here they think gift cards and vaccinations go hand in hand.
“Definitely a shot in the arm for folks who were looking for that final motivation I think this incentive in a lot of cases, was what they needed to come in and get the vaccination,” says Ron Skenes.
The program was not without controversy, but according but the administrator’s report, it’s been a success.
The report states through January 10th, more than 8,100 shots were handed out and more than 5,300 gift cards at a cost of $750,000, which is under budget.
When the program started in Richmond County, the vaccination rate was 33%; now in January, it’s 41%.
So based on that, are commissioners wanting to add additional funding to keep the incentives going?
“We put a lot of money into this program and folks just need to go get vaccinated at this point they have had ample opportunities to be Incentivized,” says Commissioner Jordan Johnson.
“I would need to look at that very, very closely as to whether or not the pros and cons as to whether we should continue moving on with it or we should do something differently,” says Commissioner Alvin Mason.
“I’m not sure about how many commissioners would tolerate more money place into it we did it but why should we keep giving people money to save their own lives,” says Mayor Pro-Tem Bobby Williams.
“I feel like we’re done with that we did this we brought it up in September we did the vaccinations cards gift cards incentive cards I think we need to move on,” says Commissioner Catherine Smith McKnight.
Now the Coronavirus is not going away right now, but unless there’s a change of opinion on the commission, it looks like the vaccine incentive program will be going away next week.