GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — A new pilot program from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is aimed at getting more people to roll up their sleeve ahead of the summer. People can get a COVID-19 vaccine and summer cash card at select vaccine clinics in Guilford and Rockingham counties.
The $25 cash card is only available for anyone 18 and older receiving a first dose or an individual driving someone to get their shot. There is no limit on the number of times someone can drive people to a vaccination appointment. Drivers will only get one cash card per visit.
“The $25 dollar gift card was definitely a bonus,” said Nicolette Cassano, who got her first dose at the High Point Community Center at Oak Hollow Mall clinic.
She was one of the first people to cash in on the deal Wednesday morning.
“It was just the right timing,” Cassano said. “Within availability and having the vehicle to come out here it’s been a little rough here and there trying to actually get out to a vaccination site.”
Terrance Morgan was eligible too. He already had both doses but dropped off his mother Barbara for her first dose.
“It’s just really something we needed to do,” Morgan said. “If she was getting it that’s fine but being the driver that’s fine too.”
Health leaders are hopeful this will encourage more people to get the vaccine.
“Demand for vaccine has slowed down significantly since the very start of our first vaccination clinic in January,” said Fred Wright, the Rockingham County health director. “I think they’ll look at this pilot and say, is this something we want to do across all 100 counties in North Carolina.”
Education and transportation are still needed to reach everyone.
“This is just another tool that we have in our toolbox,” said Dr. Iulia Vann, the Guilford County health director. “It’s definitely not the answer to all the challenges we have with the vaccination process.”
Vann told FOX8 although the program is geared towards a first dose, follow-ups are still important.
“Nobody leaves the vaccination clinic without knowing when and where they need to go for their second dose,” she said.
Morgan said it’s worth it to protect the community and have a little more spending money.
“It feels real good,” he said. “I think it’ll bring more people out.”
Cassano told FOX8 the cash card will be put to good use.
“We could get gas, we could get food, we’ve got two teenage boys, I’m sure we’ll just take them out to eat,” she said. “I think that would help a lot of people to come out and get their shot and just see what it’s all about.”
This week two Guilford County vaccinations clinics are offering the cash card. The High Point University Community Center at Oak Hollow Mall at 921 Eastchester Drive in High Point and at the Guilford County Health Department drive-thru clinic at 501 E. Green Drive in High Point. Both locations accept registrations or walk-ins.
Other Guilford County and Rockingham County locations will offer the cash cards next week.
For specific times, locations and more information visit the NCDHHS website.