Latest Butler County vaccine push includes $50 gift certificates this weekend

In their last big vaccination push before school starts, Butler County’s three health districts are offering $50 gift cards to people who show up at the fairgrounds Saturday for their first shot to prevent COVID-19.

“We are offering incentives for the first vaccine,” said Hamilton Health Commissioner Kay Farrar. “It’s a $50 gift card to various places, mostly Meijer and I think Kroger and maybe Walmart — for first-time vaccines.

“Viruses live to mutate, and they mutate to live. We’re being shown loud and clear that COVID-19 has the ability to mutate, and we’re watching it mutate in front of our eyes. We’re now at delta (variant). We’re all going to learn the Greek alphabet by the end of all of this.”

The delta variant, which is present locally and across Ohio, is more contagious and more dangerous to those sickened by it than earlier strains, she said.

“When somebody has the delta form of COVID-19, they’re way more infectious, so they have the ability to infect way more people, and the people they do infect are sicker,” Farrar said. “What we are seeing now is, this is a disease of the unvaccinated. Most of the people who are severely sick enough to be hospitalized have no vaccines or incomplete vaccination status.”

The vaccines will be given from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday during the drive-through clinic at 1715 Fairgrove Ave. in Hamilton, with shots available to anyone age 12 or older. Many have praised such clinics locally for their efficiency. After a shot, people park in an area where they can be monitored for 15 minutes afterward.

Health officials prefer that people register for the clinic at, but people can show up Saturday without registering first, Farrar said. While the clinic is drive-through, people on foot also will be accepted.

The clinic will be available to anybody age 12 or older, “because we’re going to have all three vaccinations there — Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson,” Farrar said. “It’s really their pick.”

“The vaccine is working very well when you get it,” she said. “If you get the two doses you’re expected to have, if it’s Pfizer or Moderna, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson.”

The vaccine does not completely protect someone from getting sick, but it is very effective in preventing people from death, and also from becoming so ill that they need to be hospitalized, Farrar said.

“It’s the best tool that we have against this virus that is mutating,” she said, “and I just plead with everyone to please consider coming out and getting vaccinated so they can be protected as well.”

With school about to return to session, “people will be back indoors again, in closer proximity to each other,” Farrar said.

People are asked to bring IDs, although not required to prove citizenship or residency status. They are asked to wear masks when interacting with staff.

“I would still encourage parents to send their kids in masks (to school),” Farrar said. “That’s just my personal opinion, because there’s so many of them that can’t be vaccinated.”

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