APH launches COVID-19 vaccine gift card incentive program

Austin Public Health has launched an incentive program to raise COVID-19 vaccination rates in Austin-Travis County, according to a memo to Mayor Steve Adler and the Austin City Council.

In the memo, APH interim director Adrienne Sturrup says that those who receive a COVID-19 vaccination from an APH event and complete an exit survey are eligible to receive a $50 H-E-B gift card.

The pilot program officially launched August 19 and the incentive pilot program is limited to 2,000 gift cards total and is available until all gift cards are issued. 

Supplies are limited and there are eligibility restrictions. To be eligible, a person must:

  • Receive their first or second dose at an eligible APH location
  • Complete an exit survey
  • If under 18, individual must be accompanied by parent or guardian
  • Not be a City of Austin employee or vendor

The incentive is offered for both the first and second doses as applicable, so a person can receive a total of $100 in H-E-B gift cards for receiving both doses and completing both exit surveys.

APH says the gift cards under the pilot program are not retroactive for those who previously received vaccinations. Only APH locations will have these incentives, excluding the Anna Lark Center. Additionally, individuals who are classified as immunocompromised and go to an APH location to receive their third dose are not eligible. People receiving the gift cards will be asked to sign a receipt certifying they meet the eligibility criteria.

"APH believes that the vast majority of community members who want to be vaccinated against COVID-19 have already done so," says the memo. "Many of the remaining community members are in the ‘moveable middle'."

APH says that it hopes this population will be motivated by the gift card incentive and that it will also be deploying outreach staff to educate the community on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines and dispel any myths or misinformation.

APH says that before this incentive program was launched, it had partnered with Central Health to provide gift cards at previous vaccination events, which according to Central Health did correlate to an increase in attendance. Central Health will be analyzing more than 1200 surveys and sharing the results with APH.

Austin-Travis County recently moved into Stage 5 of its COVID-19 risk-based guidelines.

COVID-19 vaccinations are free and require neither identification nor insurance. In many cases, residents can walk up without an appointment, says APH.

Residents can locate providers in their area using Vaccines.gov or texting their zip code to 438829 (822862 in Spanish) to find a nearby clinic. Residents can also call 3-1-1 or 512-974-2000 for more information regarding COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.

Additionally, Capital Metro is providing free transportation to vaccination sites through their VaccineAccess program.

For additional information on COVID-19 and vaccinations click here.

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