Health experts and community leaders hope incentives motivate more people to get vaccinated

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CENTRAL VALLEY, Calif. (KSEE) – On Friday afternoon, music, free tacos and a sense of community were the incentives for more people to get vaccinated at the Selma Senior Center.

Cultiva La Salud, part of the COVID-19 Equity Project, planned the event Friday with the goal of reaching the Latino community — who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

“They expose themselves, because they are the essential workers, they’re the ones working in the fields,” said Francisco Juárez Jr. with Cultiva La Salud COVID-19 Equity Project. “I see it as we’re getting people toward a common thing,  yes we want to get people vaccinated but also enjoy yourself, have a meal, listen to some music.”

According to the state’s most recent data, Latinos make up 38.9% of California’s populations but 55.9% of COVID-19 cases — yet they make up only 26.8% of vaccinated individuals in the state.

The state plans on fully reopening its economy on June 15. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday said their goal is to have north of 70% of adults vaccinated in California by June 15.

To incentivize more people to get the vaccine, Newsom announced an incentive program with big cash prizes for all vaccinated Californians and $50 gift cards for the next two million Californians who begin and complete their vaccine series.

“I think a lot of the drive in will be that $50 — $50 gift cards for the first two million, a lot of people are living day to day, paycheck to paycheck,” said Dr. Kenny Banh, the director of UCSF Fresno Mobile HeaL COVID-19 Equity Project.

He said on Friday they began to see a little bit of an uptick in the number of people coming in to get their vaccine at their Fresno City College site.

“Today we have seen an uptick in first doses. We’ve probably doubled our first doses from yesterday in percentage coming in. It’s probably very early because the word is not really spread out,” Banh said. “We do expect that probably this weekend and this coming week that we will have a big increase in traffic of people getting first doses.”

For the $50 checks, the state says Californians will get message with an electronic prepaid card redemption code through text or through email seven to 10 days after they complete the two-dose series of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The UCSF Fresno vaccination site at Fresno City College takes walk-ins and is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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July 23 2021 05:30 pm

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