Hundreds get COVID shot at new clinics offering $100 gift cards

Montgomery County health offered free COVID-19 along with a $100 gift card at the Dayton Metro Library in Huber Heights. Jim Noelker/Staff
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Montgomery County health offered free COVID-19 along with a $100 gift card at the Dayton Metro Library in Huber Heights. Jim Noelker/Staff

The reasons motivating the hundreds of people at a Huber Heights vaccination clinic to finally get their shots varied from the convenient time and location to family members convincing them to a new gift card incentive.

The Public Health-Dayton & Montgomery County clinics that started Tuesday also are the first to offer $100 Kroger gift cards to unvaccinated individuals for getting their first coronavirus shot.

While recent health department clinics have had much smaller attendance, over 200 people waited in 88-degree weather Tuesday afternoon in the Dayton Metro Library Huber Heights branch parking lot for a shot and their gift card.

Hundreds waited in line at the Dayton Metro Library in Huber Heights for a COVID-19 vaccine.. Jim Noelker/Staff
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Hundreds waited in line at the Dayton Metro Library in Huber Heights for a COVID-19 vaccine.. Jim Noelker/Staff

Jason Arnold, 38, and Kara Arnold, 28, of Fairborn waited over an hour for their shots. Jason Arnold said he wasn’t sure why they didn’t get the vaccine previously.

“Honestly, no reason. We just put it off,” he said.

Public Health-Dayton & Montgomery County began this week holding clinics at five locations, one each day Tuesday through Saturday. The department will give out gift cards while supplies last. The clinic locations were chosen to reach areas with lower vaccination rates, less access to health care and higher social vulnerability.

“The idea behind the gift cards, is to incentivize people to get vaccinated, but get vaccinated quickly and as soon as possible, because we’re seeing the cases rise at an uncontrollable rate,” said Public Health spokesman Dan Suffoletto. “We had a great enthusiasm here.”

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Public Health currently has 1,000 gift cards to give out through a grant from the Ohio Department of Health, with more expected to become available soon.

“I should’ve come and done it sooner. It’s easy,” said Lonnie Stanfill, 60, of Riverside.

The rest of Stanfill’s family is already vaccinated. He said the gift card wasn’t much incentive for him.

“The only reason I came here was because it’s close to my house,” he said. “My dad — he’s 90 — he’s been pushing me toward it. So was my wife. She said, ‘Man, I don’t want you to get sick.’ And this new stuff is pretty rough. I thought I had (COVID-19) a while back, but it’s probably better to be safe than sorry.”

Lonnie Stanfill from Riverside gets a COVID-19 shot from Blaire Fogle RN at the Dayton Metro Library in Huber Heights. Dayton and Montgomery County Public Health parked the mobil clinic in the parking lot of the library and offered $100 gift card for everyone that gets a vaccine. Jim Noelker/Staff
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Lonnie Stanfill from Riverside gets a COVID-19 shot from Blaire Fogle RN at the Dayton Metro Library in Huber Heights. Dayton and Montgomery County Public Health parked the mobil clinic in the parking lot of the library and offered $100 gift card for everyone that gets a vaccine. Jim Noelker/Staff

Pamela Chamberlain of Troy said the gift card was a motivator for her. Previously, she was scared.

“I don’t know. I just didn’t want to do it,” she said. Chamberlain’s daughter and son-in-law also got vaccinated Tuesday.

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Kimberly Baker, 28, of Riverside said the gift card was a small contributing factor in her choice to get the shot Tuesday.

“I mean it was beneficial, but it’s also my day off work,” she said. “It just really didn’t fit in my schedule. I was a little nervous, you know, I was letting everybody else go ahead and get theirs. My parents got theirs and it was fine.”

Ohio reported 7,747 new cases on Wednesday, according to the Ohio Department of Health. It’s a slight increase from the 7,325 cases reported on Tuesday. In the past three weeks the state now is averaging 6,037 cases a day.

According to ODH, the state had 3,549 COVID-19 patients hospitalized and 947 in the ICU as of Wednesday.

More than 6.2 million Ohioans, or 53%, have started the coronavirus vaccine, including 64% of adults. Just over 49% of residents, including nearly 60% of adults, have finished the vaccine.

The Public Health-Dayton & Montgomery coronavirus clinics offering $100 gift cards are as follows. Bring your ID so Public Health can verify this is your first dose.

  • 2-6 p.m. Tuesdays at the Dayton Metro Library - Huber Heights, 6160 Chambersburg Road
  • 8 a.m.-noon Wednesdays at Reibold Building, 117 S. Main St. (location subject to change in following weeks)
  • Noon-4 p.m. Thursdays at Montgomery County Fairgrounds, 645 Infirmary Road
  • 8 a.m.- noon Fridays at Northwest Recreation Center, 1600 Princeton Drive
  • 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays at SugarCreek Packing, 900 N. Gettysburg
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Have questions for about COVID-19, face masks, vaccines, testing, quarantining or anything else pandemic-related? Send them to jordan.laird@coxinc.com . Answers from a panel of local experts we sought out and assembled will be published regularly in print and online.

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