The city of Statesboro has now distributed $18,400, budgeted from a previous award of COVID-related special federal funding, in the form of $50 gift cards as incentives for COVID vaccine shots.
Now 50 more gift cards are being purchased. Another free, public vaccination clinic will be held at City Hall, 50 East Main St., this Saturday, Dec. 11, from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.
As at all of the previous city-sponsored clinics, the shots will be administered by professionals from the Bulloch County Health Department. The gift cards will again be available for people getting their first COVID vaccination or a required second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, but not for those getting a booster.
In the series of vaccination opportunities organized by the city since August, 368 of the $50 gift cards have been issued, City Manager Charles Penny reported to the mayor and council Tuesday.
“This past Friday, at (the Holiday Celebration) First Friday, we vaccinated 46 people, and 27 of them received gift cards,” Penny said. “We actually ran out of gift cards, so we had to issue an IOU.”
Only one person received an IOU, while 26 people received the last 26 cards from the previously authorized supply. The other 19 individuals were getting their booster shots and so were not eligible for gift cards, he explained.
Earlier this fall, the council authorized expenditures of some of the city’s federal award under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act of 2020 for advance purchases of set amounts of gift cards. Last month the council extended the program by authorizing the city manager to buy additional small amounts of gift cards at his discretion.
“We have another event this coming Saturday, here at City Hall, from 8:30 till 12:30,” Penny said. “We will purchase 50 more gift cards. We’re also reaching out to the Department of Public Health to see if we can do another one on the 18th, and that will probably be the last one for this year.”
He then noted that the 368 gift cards awarded so far amounted to an expenditure of almost $18,500, and that the additional 50 cards will put the total “well over $20,000.”Purchased from a bank, the gift cards are like cash cards, accepted by many businesses.