The new million dollar cash drawings could help too.
CHARLOTTE, NC – Getting a COVID-19 vaccine got a lot more exciting for a lot of people after Governor Cooper raised the stakes and announced $ 1 million in cash prizes for the North Carolinians who get the shot. In addition, four teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 are earning $ 125,000 for college education. It’s all in an effort to get more people vaccinated as the demand continues to decline.
In Mecklenburg County, they hope this will help increase vaccination rates and close some of the inequalities they continue to see. Vaccine providers are trying to oversaturate certain neighborhoods with the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We didn’t come here overnight and we won’t get out of here overnight,” said Dr. Raynard Washington, associate health director of Mecklenburg County, about these differences.
The well-known inequality between crescent and wedge takes place in the vaccination rates of the Mecklenburg district. On the map, the wealthier zip codes have the highest vaccination rates, and East and West Charlottes have fewer people.
“These areas have higher ethnic minority rates, lower median incomes, and a variety of other health and access issues,” Washington said of the neighborhoods where vaccination was slower.
Because of this, they go door-to-door in these areas for face-to-face conversations with people who may be hesitant. Most of their clinics and community events are intentionally in these zip codes, along with the $ 25 cash card incentives. There are small signs that it is working.
“In the past few weeks we’ve started to see some progress, particularly in demographics,” Washington said.
Last week, of all those vaccinated in the county, 21% were black and 57% were white. This week’s state data shows that 24% of the vaccinated population are black and 57% are white. Health leaders hope these trends will continue by being virtually everywhere with vaccines.
“Wherever we can go to have a clinic, we’re basically going to try to be there,” he said.
And the chance to win $ 1 million changes some opinions.
Stephen Mansel keeps walking past StarMed’s vaccination clinic. The $ 25 gift card wasn’t enough to convince him to quit, but he changed his mind when he learned that he would automatically be entered into a $ 1 million lottery.
“It’s like day and night, with a million I could of course do more than with $ 25,” said Mansel.
He has not yet been vaccinated, he said he was too scared to get the vaccination. But the excitement about the money exceeds these fears.
“Yes, that’s a lot of money. So I might as well get a chance and try to win a million, ”he said. “That sounds like a good idea.”
It is exactly what the leaders were hoping for.
“Who doesn’t want a million dollars,” said Victor Rodriguez after the vaccination.
They say data from other states shows that this is attracting a new group of people to get vaccinated.
“There are still a lot of people who have shopped into some of these vaccine conspiracies and don’t trust the systems and science, and I think a million dollars for some people will be an incentive for them to put some things aside that may not “be logical in the first place,” said Washington.
He now says there will be shots in doctor and pediatrician offices, grocery stores and pharmacies, and popular locations like breweries and black food trucks on Friday.
They say the real price is to get more people protected.
“The money sounds great, but it’s about your health,” said Jamaliel Rodriguez.
Anyone who is vaccinated by August 4th is entered twice.
During this weekend, clinics will take place at 7 different CMS schools.