Incentives being used across the tri-state to get people vaccinated

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The vaccine rollout in our area has been vital to lifting COVID-19 restrictions and mask mandates, but the work is far from over.

As vaccine rates slow, officials are shifting their strategies to bring the shots to more people.

The attitude towards getting people vaccinated is "whatever it takes."

From cash prizes to free food and beer, the push is on to get shots in people's arms.

"Our goal is not to get to 70% of adults vaccinated. Our goal is to get everyone in Philadelphia vaccinated. So we still have a lot of work ahead of us," said James Garrow with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

Across the country, there's a push to get more people vaccinated.

President Joe Biden's goal is to have at least 70% of adults with a least one shot by July 4.

"As of today, we are reporting more than 51% of Philadelphia adults are fully vaccinated, and more than 66% of Philadelphia adults have a least one dose of vaccine," said Garrow.

Philadelphia Department of Public Health says it's well on its way to reaching that 70%.

Like other places, the department is offering incentives. Philadelphia has partnered with local sports teams to give away free game tickets and other perks.

The Philadelphia Eagles will join the Philadelphia Fire Department as they host their first youth vaccination clinic on the 7800 block of Ogontz Avenue this Saturday, May 22, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This partnership between the Philadelphia Fire Department and the Philadelphia Eagles encourages Eagles fans of all ages to come out, get helpful resources families may need, and get vaccinated.

The vaccine clinic will be offering Pfizer and is open to everyone 12 years of age or older who currently live or work in Philadelphia.

But the city is encouraging teens to take advantage of this exciting opportunity.

The Phillies and Penn Medicine are teaming up to host a COVID-19 Vaccination Awareness Day & Clinic during the upcoming series against the Atlanta Braves, June 8-10, at Citizens Bank Park.

Fans must be at least 18 years of age and older to be eligible to receive the free one-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. For health and security reasons, vaccines will only be available to ticketed guests and ballpark employees. No registration is required.

Healthcare providers from Penn Medicine will also be on-site to administer the vaccine provide fans with information and answers.

In the state of Delaware, people who get their shots have a chance to win thousands of dollars and other prizes.

In New Jersey, residents who get vaccinated are being enticed with free beer and wine, and free access to state parks.

"We are one of only six states and the largest, I might add, to crack 70% of the 12 and up population having at least their first doses," said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.

Health leaders say there is still work to do when it comes to vaccinations.

In our five-county area, across the board, the number of people getting the shot dropped from May 4 through June 2.

The latest data from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health shows the downward trend in May where fewer people got vaccinated.

Pop-up vaccination clinics, like the one at 69th Transportation Center, happening every Thursday, and have been a big help with the vaccine rollout.

The shots are free and no appointments are needed.

Health experts warn the virus is still out there but say the vaccines are working. And as more people continue to get vaccinated, the sooner more restrictions will lift.

"Half of the adults in this city are fully vaccinated. They can get back to doing just about everything at this point. Everything that they have missed over the last year in a half is fair game at this point, and we can't wait for everybody else to experiment that," said Garrow.

The health department says if everything goes as planned, it will drop the mask mandate on June 11.

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