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Cleveland County’s cash incentive for getting COVID-19 vaccine starts Monday

Cleveland County currently has one of the lowest vaccination rates in North Carolina, sitting at under 50 percent fully vaccinated.
Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 5:59 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 4, 2021 at 9:41 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Starting Monday, there’s a new effort to get more people vaccinated in one area county using a cash incentive.

The hope is Cleveland County will see better vaccination rates. It currently has one of the lowest vaccination rates in North Carolina, sitting at under 50 percent fully vaccinated. That’s compared to more than 55 percent fully vaccinated in Mecklenburg County.

Beginning Oct. 4, the Cleveland County Public Health Center will offer $50 Visa cash cards in exchange for vaccinations. To be eligible, Cleveland County residents ages 12 and older must receive their first or second dose of the vaccine on or after Oct. 4, according to county officials.

Individuals who received their vaccine before Oct. 4 are not eligible for the incentive program, according to information from Cleveland County.

This certainly isn’t a new idea. The state of N.C. gave out gift cards and $1 million cash prizes through their statewide summer cash incentive programs.

Related: 18-year-old with two jobs, headed to college wins N.C.’s third $1 million vaccination lottery

However, the hope is more people will get their shots. Dr. Anthony Fauci says that’s especially important before the holiday season. “It’s just too soon to tell. We’ve just gotta concentrating on continuing to get those numbers down and not try to jump ahead by weeks or months and say what we’re gonna do at a particular time. Let’s focus like a laser on continuing to get those cases down and we can do it by people getting vaccinated,” Fauci said.

Research from the University of Pennsylvania shows, at least on a state level, cash incentives haven’t been as effective as health leaders hoped.

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