City of Racine Pondering Incentives Program to Boost Vaccinations

Aug. 10, 2021 1:20p

(WGTD)---The City of Racine is thinking about offering $50 gift cards to anyone who gets a COVID shot, or brings in a friend or a relative for shots. 

A Racine city council committee Monday night unanimously approved the recommendation from Mayor Cory Mason.

Vicky Selkowe, manager of strategic initiatives and community partnerships for the city, said incentives have proven effective in other communities. She suggested that incentives might be more effective than continuing to pursue other strategies, although she said a sweepstakes-styled incentive program for various prizes that was conducted earlier this year hit its goals.  

The incentive program--$50 per dose---would be funded with federal COVID recovery dollars. The mayor’s office is recommending that $600,000 be set aside. 

Only about 39% of city residents have received the COVID vaccine.

Not everyone on the committee was immediately supportive of the idea. Jason Meekma was planning to vote against paying people to get vaccinated while others who did get inoculated without being prodded get nothing. But he changed his mind when it was made clear that the second half of the mayor's proposal involved paying vaccinated people to bring in the unvaccinated. "You're letting the people who are most passionate about this do the leg work and put in the effort and we're going to reward them. That feels right," Meekma said.

The program, if approved by the full council, would only be open to City of Racine residents. 

No other details were provided at Monday's committee meeting.