Milwaukee COVID vaccine incentive; $100 gift cards available

The Milwaukee Health Department will launch a new COVID-19 vaccine incentive program beginning Thursday, Feb. 3.

Any eligible person 5 years old and older who receives their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at any Milwaukee Health Department vaccination clinic will receive a $100 gift card on site, while supplies last.

 Currently, only 56.5% of city of Milwaukee residents in that age group have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Over 250,000 Milwaukee residents are eligible for this incentive.

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"These programs do make an impact on individuals who maybe were reluctant to get vaccinated previously," Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson said. "The last time we did this, we had 1,000 people come who were unlikely to get vaccinated previously, and that was enough for them to be able to take the time to get vaccinated."

The Milwaukee Health Department has 1,000 gift cards available on a first-come basis at the Northwest Health Center, Southside Health Center, Menomonee Valley Site and any mobile vaccination clinic. Hours and locations for health centers and full schedule of mobile clinics is available at Milwaukee.gov/covidvax.

The health department said the last time the city handed out gift cards that they lasted four days and 1,000 people got vaccinated. More than 250,000 Milwaukee residents are eligible for the latest incentive, the health department said.

The offering comes as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to decrease in Milwaukee. While numbers are on the decline, though, health leaders say people should not let their guard down.

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"It's important to remember that the absolute numbers of each of these are still critically high. We have case counts, positivity rates and hospitalization numbers that would each be record setting prior to omicron," said Dr. Ben Weston, Milwaukee County chief health policy advisor.

To help stop the spread of the coronavirus, health leaders ask everyone to continue to wear a mask when appropriate. Milwaukee County still has 50,000 masks available for the public, which can be picked up at the Marcia Coggs Human Services Center while supplies last.

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