DeKalb County 1st in Georgia offering $100 gift cards for vaccinations for kids

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Photo Courtesy DeKalb County

By Rolling Out

DeKalb County vaccinated 426 adults and children on Saturday, December 18th, at the Center for Pan Asian Community Services in Atlanta. Over 500 families turned out and stood in the rain for hours to get vaccinated and receive a $100 prepaid cash card for every shot. DeKalb County is the only county in the state giving $100 to everyone ages 5+.

“The rain didn’t stop our communities from coming out today,” said Lily Pabian of We Love Buford Highway, one of the community organizers of the event. “With heart and help from dozens of volunteers, we served over 2,000 people with over 12,000 pounds of fresh foods, toys, Santa pics, holiday cheer, and COVID and flu vaccines for anyone who wanted one.”

The line for the food and toy giveaway and vaccines started early and snaked around the entire building and down the block. (Video, pictures and interviews available at link below) Vaccinations were supposed to be from 10am – 2pm, but attendance was so overwhelming, the operation lasted until 4:30pm. “We gave 83 children and 58 adults their first shot. Over 250 got boosters and 34 people got second shots, “ said Dr. Omar Aziz of CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort) “We’re seeing a real spike in attendance when incentives are offered. We are thrilled DeKalb County is offering this opportunity for its residents.”

“The turnout today has been tremendous. We’re seeing a shift and acceptance in the community where more families want to get vaccinated. It’s a real glimmer of hope,” said DeKalb County Commissioner Ted Terry.

“We know $100 incentives make a difference for people and can help insure that if you get sick after getting your shot, and you miss a day of work or don’t have childcare, that extra money in your pocket can lessen the anxiety about getting vaccinated,” said DeKalb County Commissioner Jeff Rader.

DeKalb County, the DeKalb County Board of Health, CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort), IRC (International Rescue Committee), and the Steed Society are partnering with over 60 community organizations to coordinate, promote and support vaccine events in “low-vax” areas. “Smaller events at trusted community locations create safe spaces for people who are hesitant about getting vaccinated. It’s important to offer education, translators and time to get questions answered,” said Munson Steed, Chair of the Steed Society.

DeKalb County Commissioners Rader and Terry assisted in bringing the incentives to the event. “Our goal is to continue these smaller, incentivized community events throughout DeKalb County until we have shots in arms — and boosters– for all of DeKalb’s diverse residents,” said Commissioner Terry.

There were lots of smiles despite the raindrops. Members of the Hispanic, Latino and Asian communities made up the majority of holiday festival attendees. Fundacion Adelante Guatemala, CareSource of Georgia, Chamblee Charter High School, Cross Keys High School, Oglethorpe University, Los Vecinos de Buford Highway and City of Brookhaven were all partners in the holiday event.

Since June 2021, DeKalb County has given $100 prepaid debit cards to over 10,000 eligible residents who received COVID-19 vaccinations during county-sponsored events. The incentives are provided through American Rescue Plan funds that have been allocated to every county in the state.

As of December 21, in DeKalb County, 412,796 residents or 55 percent are fully vaccinated, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. In DeKalb, 48 percent of Hispanics have received at least one dose. Approximately 45 percent of African Americans have received at least one dose, while 60 percent of Whites and 77 percent of Asians have received at least one dose.

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