LUDOWICI, Ga. (WSAV) – More than 60 people who received COVID vaccine shots Thursday at the Long County Health Department clinic received something else — a $100 gift card.
According to officials with the Coastal Health District, the vaccination rate in Long County stands at just 19 percent, the lowest in the district and one of the lowest in the entire state of Georgia.
That’s why they decided to try an incentive like gift cards.
“I think a lot of it has been hesitancy and a little fear of getting the vaccine from what they’ve heard from other people or what they’ve seen online,” said Angela Hartley, a clinical nursing director at the Coastal Health District.
“Some people have told us that the gift card incentive kind of persuaded them to go over the hump and persuaded them to do it.”
One of those who got a shot was Reina Cobbs who said she had recently had friend who got COVID and decided it was time to be vaccinated.
Hartley said every person that gets a shot helps the situation: “At a 19 percent vaccination rate, we are a long way from 70 percent which is where we need to be to achieve herd immunity.”
She said getting to herd immunity would help to stop the virus from circulating.
Hartley urged people not to believe “myths” about the vaccine making people sterile or that the vaccine allows a tracking device to be planted inside a person.
“Nurses use the vaccine every day and we know there is no such thing as a tracking device in the vial,” Hartley said.
She said the vaccine can save lives.
“COVID has really hit us with the delta (variant) and we’ve seen younger people getting COVID and having really bad outcomes and have some deaths and that’s what we’re trying to prevent,” said Hartley. “Thirty and 40 year olds dying of COVID, we shouldn’t have that happening and it’s very heartbreaking that that’s happening.”