RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – As part of its COVID-19 vaccine campaign, the state introduced the $25 Summer Card pilot program. Under the program, anyone getting vaccinated or driving someone to be vaccinated at participating locations was given a $25 gift card.
A study by the North Carolina Department of Human Services, North Carolina Central University and UNC-Chapel Hill found the incentive worked. The report was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
In a news release, the state said in the four counties the program operated, vaccinations decreased 26 percent in clinics offering the gift cards and 51 percent in places not offering the incentive. During the same period, the state said vaccinations dropped 49 percent statewide.
Dr. Charlene Wong, NCDHHS Chief Health Policy Officer for COVID-19 said the state’s incentive proved to be effective.
“The design of our $25 incentive pilot program in North Carolina helped alleviate transportation and other cost barriers to vaccination, particularly for low-income, Latinx and Black individuals,” said Wong.
The state said of 401 vaccine recipients surveyed, 41 percent said the $25 cards were an important reason they decided to get vaccinated. Another 49 percent, mostly Black, Hispanic, and lower-income, said someone driving them to the location was an important reason, the state said.
In total, the $25 pilot program distributed 2,890 cards to vaccine recipients and 1,374 to drivers. The state later moved to offer $100 cards. The study did not include findings of the $100 incentive program.