AUSTIN, Texas — Austin Public Health is giving out H-E-B gift cards to people who get the COVID-19 vaccine. You can get a $50 gift card after receiving your first or second dose at eligible APH vaccination locations.
The incentive pilot program is limited to 2,000 gift cards total and is only available until all gift cards are issued.
To be eligible, a person must:
- Receive their first or second dose at an eligible APH location
- Complete an exit survey
- If under 18, the individual must be accompanied by a parent or guardian
- Not be a City of Austin employee or vendor
City officials said more than one person in a family can receive a gift card after receiving the vaccine and filling out a survey.
Unfortunately, gift cards are not retroactive to individuals who have already received vaccinations. City officials told KVUE the funding for the program comes from general APH funding and is not grant-funded.
In a memo to the Austin City Council and Mayor Steve Adler, Interim Director of APH Adrienne Sturrup said this incentive could help convince people who are unsure about whether or not to get vaccinated to do so.
“APH believes that the vast majority of community members who want to be vaccinated against COVID-19 have already done so,” Sturrup wrote. “Many of the remaining community members are in the 'moveable middle.' By offering this gift card incentive, APH hopes this population will be motivated to protect themselves and others by getting vaccinated.”
Sturrup said incentives are recommended to increase vaccination rates by the Community Preventive Services Task Force.
APH previously partnered with Central Health (CH) to give out gift cards at vaccine events. CH is analyzing surveys this month to determine the incentive's effectiveness, according to the memo.
“Anecdotally, CH reports that attendance at events has increased due to the availability of incentives,” Sturrup wrote.
Sturrup said vaccination rates increased in Ohio and New Mexico after the states announced lottery prizes, college scholarships and other money-related incentives. Twenty-seven more states and private businesses are also using incentive programs, according to the memo.
Adler is also proposing a $100 vaccine incentive for City of Austin employees. The proposal is valued at about $1.7 million, which is part of the 2022 budget.
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