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Black Hawk County to offer incentives for COVID-19 vaccination

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BLACK HAWK COUNTY, Iowa (KWWL) -- Black Hawk County Public Health announced an incentive program to increase vaccination rates among residents within the county.

The incentive program includes a raffle of twenty $500 gift card baskets.

It includes gift cards to downtown businesses in Waterloo and Cedar Falls, as well as stores like Walmart, Target, Aldi, Fairway, Hyvee, and KwikStar.

"The more people vaccinated in our community creates a safer environment for all of us,"  Black Hawk County Public Health Director Dr. Nafissa Cisse Egbounye said. "We can continue to enjoy the different events going on, but also be prepared for the fall and winter."

The incentive aims to increase the current 58.2% vaccination rate (BHC residents age 18+) to 75% by July 29, 2021.

President Joe Biden has set a goal of getting at least one dose to 70% of adult Americans by July 4. 

"Our goal is to continue to encourage people to get vaccinated," Dr. Egbouyne said. "If we reach the goal by the Fourth of July, that is great. However, we will continue to push through July and onwards."

Dr. Egbounye said conversations about offering and incentives began several weeks ago when demand started to drop off in Iowa and other states across the country.

This week, Iowa ordered 2,450 doses for this week with just 16 out of Iowa's 99 counties ordering doses. Federal data shows Iowa has slipped to 21st in the nation, with 44.9% of the population fully vaccinated. Two weeks ago, Iowa was 17th.

COVID-19 vaccine is available to people ages 12+ through walk-in clinics and mobile vaccination sites.

In order to be eligible for vaccine incentives:

  • The recipient must be a Black Hawk County resident, and be age 18 or older.
  • The recipient must receive their initial dose of COVID-19 vaccination between the dates of June 11-July 29, 2021.
  • The recipient must have a current Black Hawk County address listed in the Iowa
  • Immunization Registry Information System (IRIS).
  • Initial vaccines received from any provider administering COVID-19 vaccine are eligible as long as during the dates of June 11-July 29, and the person lives in BHC.
  • Black Hawk County Public Health employees and their immediate families are not eligible to win.

Beginning July 2, four prizes will be drawn every Friday at 12 p.m., and the winners will be notified by the public health department.

Dr. Egbounye said the vaccine incentives attract groups they are currently struggling to reach, especially those 18 to 24 years old.

"We see that as a population that hardly goes to see their providers," she said. "This is also the group that we are trying to reach, and incentives have been effective in reaching those populations."

The incentive program is funded with local grants fund from the Otto Schoitz Foundation.

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