Campus News Health & Wellness

Vaccine incentives driving increased participation at UGA

Vaccine check-in station at the University Health Center. (Andrew Davis Tucker/UGA)

Registration for $1,000 incentive program is underway

Participation in the University Health Center’s COVID-19 vaccination program has more than doubled in recent weeks, spurred in part by the additional incentives recently announced for University of Georgia students, faculty and staff.

Over the last six weeks, nearly 1,500 individuals have been vaccinated at the University Health Center and walk-up clinics at the Tate Student Center offered in partnership with the local office of the Georgia Department of Public Health. About two-thirds of those appointments have been booked since UGA announced new incentives, including the opportunity to win a cash prize of $1,000.

“There’s really not a reason to not get vaccinated. You’re just helping others and yourself by being protected, and it’s really easy, simple and painless,” said Madeline Coward, a junior animal science major from Statesboro, who recently won a $100 gift card. “It was super easy, and the staff are all polite and super friendly.”

On Aug. 11, UGA began offering custom-designed T-shirts and a $20 retail gift card to everyone who was vaccinated through the UHC. Additionally, those who were vaccinated had the opportunity to put their name in for a drawing of a $100 gift card. Each week, 10 winners were drawn. The last of those drawings will take place Friday.

Last week, the university announced additional incentives to further bolster participation. Beginning today, any current student, faculty or staff member who has been fully vaccinated (two doses of Pfizer or Moderna or one of Johnson & Johnson) – whether at the UHC or elsewhere – can submit their names to be in the running to win a cash prize of $1,000. A total of 100 prizes will be awarded.

“Our doctors and nurses at the University Health Center have been excited to see the groundswell of interest in vaccine appointments since these incentives were announced,” said UHC Interim Executive Director Jen Swails. “Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, and those who are booking appointments realize that they need to get their first vaccine soon in order to be fully vaccinated in time to be eligible for the $1,000 drawing.”

The names of the first 50 lucky winners will be drawn on Sept. 15, with another 25 to follow on Sept. 30 and again on Oct. 15. Individuals vaccinated in the coming weeks will be able to add their names to the pool as soon as they receive their second dose (or single dose of J&J). Winners will be required to validate the dates and locations of their vaccines.

Getting vaccinated is convenient and free to UGA students, faculty and staff at the UHC. Capacity for vaccines has been expanded at the UHC, and appointments may be booked online. Walk-ups are available at the Tate Student Center from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Sept. 2.

“Getting vaccinated offers the greatest protection against the COVID-19 virus and presents a clear path to protecting your fellow members of the UGA community,” Swails said. “We urge those who have not yet been vaccinated to make an appointment at the UHC or visit the walk-up clinics at Tate. In addition to keeping your fellow Bulldogs safe, you’ll have a chance to win a $1,000 in the process.”