Fact Finders: Who pays for COVID-19 vaccination gift cards?

20 counties in the state have joined the gift card program.
Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 10:29 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The Springfield-Greene County Health Department will hold its second Winter Vaccine Event this Saturday. Everyone who gets their 1st or 2nd dose on Saturday will get a $50 gift card. So, our viewer Elaine has a two-part question; “l would like to know where the money comes from to pay people to get the COVID-19 vaccine.” and “Is someone making money somehow?”

Lisa Cox with the Department of Health and Senior Services tells us 20 counties in the state have joined the gift card program. So far, Missouri has invested about $1.7 (M) million dollars. The money comes from the Centers for Disease Control, which is part of the federal government. Then, it goes to the state. After that, it flows to the county level.

“We know that monetary incentives are not the silver bullet that causes every Missourian to get vaccinated, but it’s one more tool available to us that is causing some positive shifts for people in Missouri. For those it is impacting, the vaccination may have saved their life or the life of a loved one. Every person vaccinated lessens the opportunity for the virus to spread further. We will never truly know the full impact of incentives and other efforts to encourage widespread vaccination. It can’t hurt to try,” Cox says.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department has handed out more than 1,320 gift cards so far. You can get a gift card to Target, Walgreens, or Walmart if you get vaccinated.

“We just know that we need to do everything possible in order to get more individuals vaccinated. And again, because this was funding that was given to us by the state through the CDC, we didn’t see any downside to accepting it. And we knew that we have the tools in order to properly educate and motivate and alert residents about the incentive program,” commented Cara Erwin of The Springfield-Greene County Health Department.

Erwin also says the health department has close to 1,400 gift cards remaining. They anticipate they’ll run out during Saturday’s event at Williams Elementary.

So, the answer to the first part of Elaine’s question; The CDC is the original source of money. For the second part of the question, “Is someone making money somehow?” The answer is yes. People who get their first or second COVID-19 vaccination will get a 50-dollar gift card.

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