Daniel Alston gets a Covid-19 vaccination during a mass vaccination event at Johnson C. Smith University. Photo: Kevin McCarthy/Atrium Health

This story was originally published by Carolina Public Press.

In an effort to encourage North Carolinians to get the Covid-19 vaccine, the Department of Health and Human Services announced a $25 gift card incentive for recipients and drivers at designated sites in four counties: Guilford, Mecklenburg, Rockingham and Rowan.

People 18 and older who receive any of the Covid-19 vaccines at participating sites between May 26 and June 8 will receive a $25 Summer Cash Card.

Recipients may schedule an appointment, but the three sites in Guilford and four sites in Mecklenburg also accept walk-in clients. The site locations for Rowan and Rockingham are not yet listed on the department’s website.

Anyone 18 and older who drives a recipient to a designated vaccine site is also eligible for a gift card under the new program. The incentive is limited to one card per visit, but there is no limit on how many times a driver may bring recipients to sites and receive a card for each visit.

“We have a strong supply of Covid-19 vaccines, and we want to make it as easy as possible for people to get their free Covid-19 vaccine,” DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said. “We also want to support those who have made the effort to help family members, friends and neighbors get vaccinated.”

The giveaway is part of the department’s statewide Bring Summer Back vaccination campaign designed to encourage vaccination to slow the spread of Covid-19. Vaccines are free at all sites. The cards are provided by State Employees’ Credit Union, which waived the card production fees.

Other states have offered incentives to encourage vaccination. In Ohio, vaccine recipients are eligible for entry into a lottery for five $1 million cash awards. Kentucky also offered lottery tickets to motivate residents to get the shot.

Some companies also provided incentives for vaccination. Krispy Kreme gives away a free daily doughnut to anyone showing proof of vaccination.

North Carolina ranks 37th in percentage of people receiving at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the Mayo Clinic vaccine tracker.

Participating sites are listed on the DHHS website, and appointments may be scheduled online. A full list of all Covid-19 vaccine sites in the state is available at Your Spot, Your Shot or by calling the Vaccine Help Center at 866-675-4567.

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