Gaston County DHHS seeing demand for vaccine incentive gift cards

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 9:52 PM EDT
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GASTON COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - The Gaston County Department of Health and Human services has seen an increased demand for the $100 gift cards being offered as an incentive for those who have yet to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Last week the department announced that $100 gift cards would be made available to people 18 years and older who had not yet been vaccinated against the coronavirus. The county is also offering $25 gift cards to people who drive friends and family to get vaccinated.

The gift cards are only being offered at the Gaston County DHHS headquarters located at 991 W. Hudson Blvd. The cards are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

A viewer reached out to WBTV Monday to explain that she had taken two of her neighbors to get vaccinated at the health department but learned that the gift cards were temporarily out of stock. She said she and her neighbors left without anyone getting vaccinated because no cards were available.

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Adam Gaub, the director of communications for Gaston County DHHS, said the department ran out of cards last Friday but is working with the state to make sure more of the gift cards are shipped to Gaston County.

“We’re trying to mitigate that. We’ve been posting on our DHHS social media page when we do have those vaccines in hand so that people can use that as a resource. We’re also posting signs up on the door so people know if we’re out of vaccine cards for the day,” explained Gaub.

North Carolina offering $100 cards for first-time COVID-19 vaccinations, $25 cards for drivers

He said there has been a demand for the gift cards in the last few days, and that is leading to more people getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

“We ramped up last week. We were seeing like 30 or 40 each day. Now with more word getting out about this $100 vaccine incentive, it just seems like the demand is growing and growing and that’s great. We want to get as many people in and get them going on the vaccine as quickly as possible,” explained Gaub.

He said the department got 150 more cards Monday and he’s hoping they’ll have even more by next week.

Gastonia resident Jodie Hagan said she got the shot before the gift cards were even being offered as an incentive.

“I wish they would have done it when I was getting mine – very unfair,” said Hagan in an interview with WBTV Monday night.

Fairness aside, Hagan said she was hopeful the gift cards would make people get vaccinated.

“I hoped that it would motivate people. Stop being so scared and stop being so worried about somebody telling them what to do,” said Hagan in reference to those individuals who have been hesitant about getting the shot.

Jessica Haney, another Gastonia resident, said she also sees how the gift cards could encourage people to get vaccinated, but it’s not enough to make her want the shot.

“People that really need the money I guess they would do it for the money, but that’s not my opinion or my husband. We’re not getting it,” said Haney.

As COVID-19 cases surge across the state and across the country, Gaub is hoping more people will get vaccinated regardless of whether incentives are being offered.

“If you’ve been kind of on the fence about getting vaccinated, not only is it a great time from the standpoint of the incentive, but it’s a great time for protecting yourself and your loved ones,” said Gaub.

He said the best way to get updates about the availability of the vaccine incentive gift cards is to look at the Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services page on Facebook.

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