Casey Harrison

Ethan Lucero, 19, of Las Vegas receives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Eldorado High School in Las Vegas on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021. Lucero was one of 500 people on Saturday to receive a $100 gift card for getting the shot, as part of a new Clark County pilot program.

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More people got vaccinated against COVID-19 in one weekend at a clinic where cash incentives were offered than at nearly 20 similar Southern Nevada Health District-run clinics combined.

Clark County says 892 people got vaccinated at the two-day pop-up clinic at Eldorado High School on Sept. 18-19. That’s when each shot was worth $100, given as a preloaded gift card purchased by the county using federal pandemic aid.

At SNHD pop-ups between May and mid-September, when there were no cash giveaways, the district gave out 782 doses combined, according to SNHD records. Some pop-ups gave a dozen or fewer shots all day.

Clearly, paying people to get vaccinated works, said Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom.

Segerblom persuaded enough of his colleagues to pilot a cash-for-vax program, choosing a northeast corner of the valley that has seen some of the highest case counts for the coronavirus, as vaccine uptake stagnated statewide in recent weeks. He tried for a bigger follow-up earlier this month, seeking up to $1 million for additional shot incentives.

“If we can get 10,000 more shots out there, I think that’s desirable,” he said at the commission’s Oct. 5 meeting.

The commission brought it down to $100,000, the same amount it set aside for the Eldorado High clinic.

Commission Chair Marilyn Kirkpatrick and Commissioner Michael Naft praised Segerblom for spearheading the cash bonuses program but suggested a smaller campaign, which would be more manageable for county staff. Details on the next wave of giveaways are to be determined.

The health district started shifting its efforts in May from mass vaccination sites like the Cashman Center and the Las Vegas Convention Center to targeted outreach. SNHD and local partners sought out well-known neighborhood hubs and gatherings, especially in areas with lower vaccination rates or where residents might face barriers in getting to a conventional clinic — and they did get shots into arms, in much smaller numbers.

On one day in July at the Mexican Consulate just south of downtown Las Vegas, the health district gave out 47 shots. At a festival in August at a public pool in North Las Vegas, it gave out 37 doses; on a day in August at the Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada’s office on Rainbow Boulevard, 10 doses. At a festival in an eastside park at the same time as the Eldorado High clinic just three miles away, the health district administered 18 shots.

People have a wide variety of options for vaccination locations: pop-ups that last a day or or so, long-term community locations like schools, colleges and state welfare offices; private pharmacies and doctors; and SNHD headquarters.

The health district frequently schedules short-term community-based pop-ups to ensure people have access to a clinic site close to home; at least 12 are scheduled for October, from Las Vegas and its suburbs to Laughlin.

The Nevada Health Response reports that 63.8% of eligible Clark County residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine as of Tuesday, compared with 54.1% who are fully immunized.

(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)

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