Program To Provide Free ‘Shot And A Chaser’ Draws People To Vaccine Sites

 A lot of people don’t like to get shots at the doctors.

Now one New York county has come up with a way to alleviate those hesitant to take the COVID-19 vaccine: Alcohol.

Erie County “worked with a local microbrewery to host its Shot and a Chaser program, offering individuals who got their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at Resurgence Brewing Company a free pint glass and coupon for the vaccinated person’s drink of choice,” The Buffalo News reported.

The program seems to have worked: Before vaccinations began, there was a line out the door. By mid-afternoon, more than 100 people had taken up the offer.

“We’re going to do more people today at our first-dose clinics than most of our first-dose clinics in the last week combined,” County Executive Mark Poloncarz told the News. “It’s been a success. We figured it would be pretty good, but now we’re seeing the results.”

The paper also reported that New Jersey and Suffolk County have copied the idea, offering free drink vouchers at participating breweries for people who take the vaccination.

The program is admittedly a small effort, Poloncarz said. “But if it gets another 200 people vaccinated today who otherwise would not have, that’s 200 more people that are going to be protected from Covid-19,” he said, “and 200 less people we need to get to eventually reach herd immunity. And that’s the important thing.”

The shot-and-a-beer program follows other efforts by states to draw more people to get vaccinated. After a hot start, the pace of vaccinations has slowed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that just 115 million Americans have been fully vaccinated, about 35% of the population.

Last month, West Virginia announced that residents age 16-35 will get $100 savings bonds when they get vaccinated. Republican Gov. Jim Justice said the plan has been enacted to “jump-start” young people — who are less at risk of severe effects from the virus — to get the shots.

“Our kids today probably don’t really realize just how important they are in shutting this thing down,” Justice said. “I’m trying to come up with a way that’s truly going to motivate them, and us, to get over the hump.”

The governor said he wants younger individuals “to really see and understand that they’ve done something that’s really meaningful.”

“I’m telling you, West Virginia, it’s time to shut this thing down” unless state residents want COVID-19 to “linger forever,” Justice said. He added that the state decided to go with savings bonds instead of cash because cash would be “just … a dash in the pan and a couple of trips to Wendy’s with your friends.”

“Maybe just a real dose of patriotism from the standpoint of a savings bond” would be meaningful to the young, he said. “Our young people should be really, really proud if they help us step up,” Justice said.

Justice estimates the program would cost about $28 million if lots of people take up the offer. “It would be the best money ever spent, like you can’t imagine,” he said. Justice said vaccines will be available at the state basketball tournament in Charleston, and soon will be accessible at mobile units at fairs, festivals, and other events.

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