AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Back in August the city was making a big investment in the Vaxup Augusta program, committing more than a million dollars in federal rescue act funds for an incentive program. So how big of a shot in the arm has this inventive program been to the city vaccination rate?

At the health department’s South Augusta clinic they we’re giving shots and gift cards to those getting fully vaccinated, that’s what commissioners hoped the program would do.

“It’s very difficult to say 100 percent but one would think the tools that were used to motivate the public has done their job,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.

The Vaxup program numbers show since it started 1268 county residents have gotten fully vaccinated. 

 And the city’s vaccination rate has climbed from 33 percent in August, to 39 percent today. 

 I think it’s partially working; we are getting the numbers up still don’t think we had to pay people to do this I think a good educational outreach could have done the job,” said Commissioner John Clarke.  

 The city has handed out 1029 gift cards, so that’s just over $100 thousand dollars to those getting vaccinated, but the total cost of the program is $213 thousand dollars as the city is also paying administrative costs for 5 healthcare partners.  

 “I think the administrative costs should have gone to paying for more vaccinations instead of paying someone to administer a gift card,” said Commissioner Clarke.

“Is that too much for administration?”

“Well, what is too much to make sure people have an opportunity of living,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.

Commissioners planned for the program to run through the end of the year but said in August if the numbers didn’t add up, they could change direction.  

“I think if it seems to be working now just leave it alone, sometimes we try to tweak something and it just backfires,” said Commissioner Clarke.

The city is stepping up its efforts to get more people vaccinated there will be two clinics this week Thursday at the Aquatics center Saturday at James Brown Arena.