Statesboro’s city government is working in partnership with the Bulloch County NAACP and Squashing the Spread Bulloch County to host the free COVID-19 vaccine clinic this Saturday, Sept. 18, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Jones-Love Cultural Center in Luetta Moore Park.
The park is at 585 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, where the first 300 visitors in line will get a $50 gift card after receiving their choice of the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, the city government announced. The free vaccines will be administered by licensed practitioners from the Bulloch County Health Department.
Also, Ashlee Corbin with the Statesboro Kiwanis Club said the first 75 people to get a vaccine at Saturday's clinic will receive a voucher for a free pancake dinner at the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair next month.
The clinic is open to anyone 12 years of age and older, but youth under 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to receive the vaccine, with the Pfizer vaccine being the only one approved for this age group.
“Myself and the Statesboro City Council want our citizens to get vaccinated,” Mayor Jonathan McCollar said in a press release. “Getting vaccinated is the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and save lives. It is our hope that offering the $50 incentive will encourage more citizens to take the vaccine to protect themselves, their families and their neighbors.”
As of Wednesday, the Georgia Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 interactive online dashboard indicated that 31% of Bulloch County residents had been fully vaccinated, compared to a 46% full vaccination rate for all Georgia residents. Statewide, 51% of people had received at least one dose, compared to 36% in Bulloch County.
Saturday’s vaccination opportunity at the park is the latest in a series of efforts by Statesboro’s city government to encourage residents and city employees to get vaccinated. The city hosted a free vaccine clinic Sept. 1 at City Hall where 68 people turned out to receive the vaccine and a $50 gift card.
Anyone who received their first dose of a two-dose vaccine at the City Hall clinic Sept. 1 will be eligible to receive a second dose and an additional $50 gift card during the clinic Saturday at the park, city Public Information Officer Layne Phillips stated in the press release.
Bulloch NAACP and Squashing the Spread Bulloch will have volunteers assisting at the clinic, she said.
After initially approving an expenditure of $10,000 for two hundred $50 bank-issued gift cards before the Sept. 1 clinic, City Council on Sept. 7 approved the purchase of 168 more cards, replacing the 68 previously distributed and boosting the total available for Saturday to 300. That also made the cumulative expenditure for gift cards $18,400, with the funding source being the city’s federal reimbursement for public safety expenses under Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act of 2020.
At the direction of the mayor and county, city staff members have also developed plans for multiple raffle drawings to reward vaccinated Statesboro residents. City Manager Charles Penny told the council last week that, based on discussion with legal counsel at the Georgia Municipal Association, the city cannot directly hold prize drawings but could partner with a charitable nonprofit organization that would conduct the raffles.
He is slated to deliver an update on the proposed drawings at Tuesday’s 5:30 p.m. council meeting.