by Elizabeth Troutman
The city of Phoenix will incentivize receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at city-sponsored vaccination clinics by handing out $100 gift cards.
The Phoenix City Council approved the pilot program to increase vaccination rates. The program will be funded by federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act.
Grocery store or gas station gift cards will be distributed to the first 1,000 individuals to get both doses at the city clinics, according to an Oct. 12 news release from the city. Eligibility is not limited to residents of Phoenix.
As of Oct. 12, approximately 60% of Phoenix residents were fully vaccinated, surpassing the rates in Maricopa County and nationwide.
The announcement comes after President Joe Biden’s asked cities and states to use $100 vaccine incentives at the end of July. Shortly after Biden’s announcement, New York City introduced a similar program.
“I know that paying people who get vaccinated might sound unfair to folks who got vaccinated already,” the president said in a press conference. “But here’s the deal: if incentives help us beat this virus, I believe we should use them. We all benefit if we can get more people vaccinated.”
Several other states have introduced vaccination rewards programs. The state of Alabama sponsored a tik-tok contest to encourage teens to get vaccinated, Delaware is offering benefits to vaccinated inmates, Connecticut restaurants offer free drinks to vaccinated patrons, and Illinois gave out 50,000 free tickets to Six Flags.
The Phoenix Mobile Clinic uses two vans, operating Monday through Saturday, targeting areas with lower vaccination rates and underserved populations.
The Phoenix city council may choose to expand the program’s scope beyond 1,000 gift cards after measuring the program’s success in boosting vaccination rates.
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