Several factors played a role in the increase in vaccinations given Thursday by the Middletown Health Department.
Jackie Phillips, the city’s health commissioner, said 30 people were vaccinated during the weekly clinic in Council Chambers in the lower level of the City Building. She said recently the average was about 10 vaccinations a week and one week no vaccinations were given.
She credited the increase on Cleveland-Cliffs, formerly AK Steel, allowing its employees to receive vaccinations on company time; people preparing to leave for vacations; the increase in the Delta variant; and the city’s new incentive program.
The Middletown Health Department, through funding from the Ohio Department of Health, started offering gift card incentives Thursday to those who attend vaccination clinics in the city. Phillips said every person being vaccinated could receive up to a $100 gift card from Kroger, Walmart and Speedway for completing the vaccine series.
Residents are eligible to receive $50 per dose of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or $100 for Johnson & Johnson, she said.
A representative of Ohio Medicaid Managed Care plans may also be offering gift card incentives during clinics with the city’s health department, she said. Those who have Medicaid plans should bring their insurance card.
“The bottom line is we want as many vaccinations as possible,” she said. “I don’t care how we get there.”
Phillips said the goal is to get to a herd immunity so everyone in the community can be safe.
“Think of yourself and also think of those you care about,” she said, mentioning those 11 and younger, those with chronic conditions and those with immune system disorders.
So far, Phillips said, about 60% of Middletown’s 50,000 residents are vaccinated.
“We have done a great job,” she said. “People just need to educate themselves and make smart health decisions.”
This week, Miami University officials announced they’re offering prizes as incentive for students returning to campus in August to get a coronavirus vaccination.
School officials are offering more than 80 prizes to full-time students returning to classes at the main Oxford campus and the regional schools in Hamilton and Middletown.
Under the plan, full-time students may win a free semester of tuition, a free year of school meals or box seats at a Miami hockey game.
Prizes include: bursar credit equal to one Tuition Promise semester of in-state tuition and fees (maximum value $8,352), bursar credit for a Miami meal plan for one year (maximum value $3,000), VIP box tickets for the student and nine friends to a Miami hockey game, cash prizes, laptops, and bookstore gift cards.