Dallas pushes vaccines with chance to win gift cards, plane tickets

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It has been more than six months since COVID-19 vaccines became available, but less than half of eligible people in Dallas are fully vaccinated. Will the chance of getting a Walmart gift card motivate many more to protect yourself?

On Thursday, Mayor Eric Johnson announced a raffle for people vaccinated from June 1 to July 23 that could earn them gift cards for businesses such as Walmart, Target and Starbucks. Other prizes include airline tickets and autographed Dallas Mavericks memorabilia.

“We hope the prospect of winning any of these awards will make someone who’s about, or too busy, or whatever the reason, to say, ‘You know what, I’m going to go from there. ‘forward and do it, “Johnson said.

The nonprofit Dallas Foundation is the city’s partner in trying to motivate people to get vaccinated. Dallas residents who receive their first Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or Johnson & Johnson one shot vaccine during the raffle period can enter to win prizes.

The city’s raffle doesn’t include mind-blowing cash prizes like those offered in some other states. Dallas County considered offering cash prizes using money from its COVID-19 response fund, but County Judge Clay Jenkins faced challenges, including navigating the gambling restrictions of the state.

Mayor’s spokesman Tristan Hallman said the city has partnered with the Dallas Foundation because it can demand proof of the winners’ vaccines – which the city cannot. In April, Governor Greg Abbott banned state agencies and state-funded organizations from requiring such proof.

Last week, the Dallas regional chamber announced a COVID-19 vaccine awareness campaign that also offers prizes, including Southwestern and U.S. airlines and tickets to the Dallas Cowboys.

Efforts to get people to get vaccinated come as demand for vaccines has slowed statewide, with 46.9% of people 12 and older fully vaccinated, according to the Department of Health Services of the United States. State. In Dallas County, the rate is about the same: 46.7%.

Dallas closed its mass vaccination site at The Potter’s House because too few people showed up, and Jenkins announced that the Fair Park County-run site would close in August.

The Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation originally predicted that Dallas County would achieve herd immunity – which includes people who have been vaccinated or who have recovered from COVID-19 – by mid-June. But with vaccination rates slowing, the county is more likely not to achieve herd immunity until July, according to center CEO Steve Miff.

Although the vaccine has been widely available – free – for months, the city is still hoping it can inspire more people to protect themselves.

“We really want to create a very strong incentive for people who have not yet done so,” said the mayor.

Dallas residents can enter the raffle by using the online form or by calling the mayor’s office at 214-670-3301. The city administers injections at the Methodist Dallas Medical Center and through a home vaccination program and pop-up clinics.

“It’s really easy. All you have to do is go online and sign up, then get the shot, and you’re eligible, ”Johnson said.

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