Cleveland County Launches COVID-19 Vaccine Incentive Program

SHELBY, N.C. — Those eligible, but unvaccinated, can now receive a $50 Visa gift card for getting the COVID-19 vaccine in Cleveland County.

Cleveland County Commissioners authorized the use of grant dollars to launch a COVID-19 vaccine incentive program, similar to the NCDHHS Summer Card program that ended in August, for Cleveland County residents.

County officials say the incentive program will begin October 4th for all residents 12-years-old and up who receive a first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

These residents will get a $50 Visa gift card for their efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Officials say children ages 12 to 15 must have a parent or legal guardian present to consent to the vaccine and to receive the gift card on the child’s behalf.

Gift cards will be available while supplies last.

Residents may call 980-484-6019 to schedule an appointment to get the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson and Johnson vaccine at the Cleveland County Health Department.

Officials say Cleveland County residents who receive their first or second dose of the vaccine at a provider other than the Cleveland County Health Department on or after October 4th, may bring proof of their vaccination status to the Cleveland County health Department to get their $50 gift card.

Currently 49 percent of the Cleveland County population 12-years-old and up are fully vaccinated, compared to 61 percent of the population ages 12-years-old and up in North Carolina as a whole, according to a news release.

“Our county’s vaccination rate continues to lag behind the rest of the state of North Carolina,” said Tiffany Hansen, Cleveland County Health Director. “When comparing our county’s daily case rates and test positivity rates to other counties with higher vaccination rates, we see that our county’s case and test positivity rates are significantly higher. Furthermore, in just the past five weeks, a total of 48 Cleveland County residents have died from COVID-19. Of these, only five were vaccinated, meaning approximately 90% of all COVID-19 deaths in Cleveland County since the third week in August have been unvaccinated.”

Health officials say the COVID-19 vaccine continues to be highly effective in preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death from contracting coronavirus.

However, officials remind everyone that those under the age of 12 do not have the option to get the COVID-19 vaccine so they are relying on others to get their shots to protect them and help keep them healthy and in school.

“We hope offering an incentive will help increase vaccination rates,” said Doug Bridges, Chair of the Cleveland County Board of Commissioners. “We are also hopeful that incentivizing the second dose in addition to the first dose will help close the gap between those who are partially vaccinated and those who are fully vaccinated, giving them the highest level of protection possible.”