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NC to give out $100 gift cards in new COVID-19 vaccine incentive

The state will pay people $100, at least in some counties, to get their first COVID-19 vaccine shot.

Posted Updated

Travis Fain
, WRAL statehouse reporter

The state will pay people $100, at least in some counties, to get their first COVID-19 vaccine shot.

Gov. Roy Cooper mentioned the plan during an unrelated afternoon press conference, then the state's Department of Health and Human Services followed up with more details. The $100 gift cards, a boost from an ongoing program providing people with $25 gift cards, will be available starting Wednesday.

The program will last through the end of August, and the cards are available to anyone 18 or older who gets their first dose at a participating site. Those sites can be looked up online, and they're spread across nearly 40 counties in North Carolina.

There are a number of sites in the Triangle.

Dr. David Wohl with UNC says he’s noticed what has been motivating people to get vaccinated lately, and as he sees it, it has more to do with fear and less to do with incentives.

“I don’t think you’re going to be swayed by the incentives we’re talking about," Wohl said. "If we don’t see that motivate people, million dollar jackpots, it really does beg, 'what will it take?' It’s more fear that’s motivating people to do this rather than protecting their neighbors or not infecting their grandparents."

People who drive someone to get a vaccine can get a $25 gift card at these sites, and they can get the card more than once. That offer isn't available to Uber drivers or others paid to drive people to a visit.

“This is an expansion of our successful $25 Summer Card,” DHHS Chief Deputy Secretary for Health Kody Kinsley said in a release. "It’s a part of the nationwide effort to get more people vaccinated to stop the severe illness, hospitalization and death being caused by the Delta variant which, unfortunately, is now dominant in North Carolina. We know that many people want to get vaccinated but are concerned about taking time off work or can’t afford transportation. The $100 Summer Cards should be a big help.”

Meanwhile, a group is protesting a vaccine mandate for healthcare workers, planning to march from the Governor's mansion to the legislative building in Raleigh on Wednesday morning.

In other incentives, the last drawing for the $1 million prize in the state's vaccine lottery is scheduled for Wednesday. North Carolina is awarding four $1 million prizes to anyone 18 or older who's gotten at least one vaccine dose and four $125,000 college scholarships to anyone 12 to 17 who's gotten a shot.


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