Butler County agencies changing vaccine tactics as starts decrease: What they’re doing

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Gov. Mike DeWine’s Vax-A-Million program has inspired local communities to reward local Ohioans who get the COVID-19 vaccine.

As the country is reaching the six-month mark in vaccines, local governments have been turning to incentivize the vaccine as fewer and fewer people are seeking it. The Biden Administration has a goal to vaccinate 70% of Americans by July 4, and it’s increasingly looking that goal won’t be met, according to the Associated Press.

Less than half of Ohio, as of Thursday, has started the vaccination process. Only 41.5% as of Thursday are fully vaccinated, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

Three vaccinated adults have won the Vax-A-Million’s $1 million prize, and three vaccinated children have won the program’s full-ride scholarship to a public Ohio college or university. There are two more chances to win each of those prizes.

Butler County’s public health agencies are encouraging the public to take the vaccine, and the Butler County General Health District said Medicaid recipients who show their card at each Wednesday walk-in vaccination clinic at the Butler County Fairgrounds will receive a gift card. They also are signed up for the Vax-A-Million program.

“We used to do giant clinics with about 2,000 people a day and we scaled that all back as the demand for the vaccine has decreased,” said county Health Commissioner Jennifer Bailer. “But we are here and we will be here every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.”

Through Tuesday, the Butler County General Health District administered 35,536 vaccinations, and all Butler County public health partners have completed 145,415 vaccinations, which represents 38.4 percent of the county.

The 4.8 million completed vaccinations in Ohio represent 41.4% of the state.

The health district offers all three vaccines: the one-shot Johnson and Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer. Pfizer is the only vaccine authorized to be administered to those 12 and older. The other vaccines can only be administered to adults.

The city of Hamilton moved away from the drive-thru format in mid-May as the capacity for mass vaccination sites grew through the county and state, said Hamilton Health Commissioner Kay Farrar.

“This allowed us to focus on direct community outreach through pop-up clinics at multiple locations,” she said.

Farrar said the pop-up clinics at places like churches, festivals, restaurants, and businesses is the city’s primary method of outreach at the moment.

“While these clinics are inherently smaller in the number of shots given, we feel that they still reach vitally important populations in our community that we might have otherwise not,” she said.

Through Tuesday, the Hamilton Health Department administered 19,269 vaccinations, which is predominantly made up of Moderna vaccinations with some Johnson & Johnson.

The Hamilton pop-up clinics administer a few hundred vaccinations a week, Farrar said.

In Middletown, the city’s public health department has a regular walk-in clinic from noon to 1 p.m. every Thursday at One Donham Plaza.

The city collaborated with the Middletown City Schools on a Pfizer clinic for children 12 and older recently, and there was a walk-in clinic at the annual Women’s Wine and Chocolate Walk last month in downtown Middletown.

The city is planning to hold a walk-in clinic at the annual Independence Day Festival on July 3 in Smith Park.

To date, the Middletown Health Department has administered 7,811 vaccinations, and it is averaging 30 to 40 vaccinations per week at the Thursday clinic.

State and local governments aren’t the only entities incentivizing vaccinations.

Now through July 10, Kroger customers and associates are eligible for the chance to win one of five $1 million checks or one of 50 “groceries for a year” prizes. Anyone who had received or does receive the vaccination from Kroger Health, the healthcare division of The Kroger Co., is eligible for the prize.

The program is the grocer’s #CommunityImmunity Giveaway program, and winners are scheduled to be selected weekly, according to the company. This is in support of the Biden Administration’s national effort to have at least 70% of U.S. adults receive their first COVID-19 vaccine dose by July 4, according to the company.

Visit KrogerGiveaway.com for the rules of the giveaway program.

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