CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Some Charlotteans got more than they expected at their COVID-19 vaccine appointment Thursday afternoon: the shot, a $25 gift card, and a visit from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.
Cooper visited a StarMed Healthcare location Thursday at 4001 Tuckaseegee Road to promote the state’s new COVID-19 vaccination incentive push, offering $25 gift cards to people getting their first COVID-19 shot along with people driving others to get their first shot.
Many other states have begun offering COVID-19 vaccine incentives in recent weeks. Some, like New York and Delaware, are offering full-ride college scholarships in vaccine raffles. And Ohio is running million-dollar COVID-19 vaccine lotteries.
A vaccine lottery with a million-dollar prize isn’t off the table in North Carolina, Cooper said Thursday.
“Maybe we can do both,” Cooper said, referring to the lottery and the $25 gift cards.
The state is considering additional incentive programs to popularize COVID-19 vaccines, Cooper said, including programs modeled after those in other states.
Cooper didn’t say exactly when such programs could be announced, but said his office was trying to get those plans presented "as quickly as possible.”
As of Thursday, 53.6% of North Carolinians age 18 and older have received at least one COVID-19 shot, according to state Department of Health and Human Services data.
That’s still far below President Joe Biden’s proposed vaccination goal of 70% of adults vaccinated by July 4.
That’s one reason the governor is pushing for incentives, to get as many adults vaccinated as possible.
“Remember, when you get this vaccine, not only are you protecting yourself, you’re protecting your family, your friends, and anybody else who you might come in contact with,” Cooper said. “… We have people dying, most every day — still — of this virus so it is not over.”
The Tuckaseegee Road StarMed Healthcare location began giving out gift cards for the COVID-19 vaccines on May 26.
More than 1,000 people have participated in the program at that location in the first week, StarMed Healthcare CEO Michael Estramonte said.
StarMed has performed more than 300,000 COVID-19 tests and administered more than 200,000 COVID-19 vaccines in North Carolina, he said. StarMed has administered more than 25,000 vaccines at the Tuckaseegee Road location.
Here’s where you can find a $25 gift card in Charlotte:
▪ StarMed Healthcare, 4001 Tuckaseegee Road: From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily; walk-ins or schedule online
▪ StarMed Healthcare, 5344 Central Avenue: From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m daily; walk-ins or schedule online
▪ Bojangles Coliseum, 2700 E. Independence Blvd.: From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on June 7-8; walk-ins or schedule online
Other locations in Charlotte are offering the $25 gift cards too, on limited days this week. Here’s where and when to snag one at those spots.
▪ MEDIC, 4425 Wilkinson Blvd.: from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. on June 4 and June 7
▪ Catawba Brewing Co., 933 Louise Ave.: From 3-7 p.m. on June 4
▪ Food Truck Friday, 5700 Westpark Drive: From 3-8 p.m. on June 4
▪ Movement School Eastland, 5249 Central Ave.: From 12-4 p.m. on June 5