Houston Health Department offering $25 gift cards to people who get fully vaccinated

HOUSTON – Houston is offering free gift cards to those who get fully vaccinated.

According to Houston Health Department, people that are vaccinated at one of its health centers or clinics will receive a $25 gift card starting August 2. To qualify, a person must complete their vaccination process, which may include two shots, within 42 days.

“We are at a pivotal point in the fight against this deadly virus. Positive cases and hospitalizations are increasing, primarily among the unvaccinated, despite vaccines being free and readily available,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “It is our hope the new incentive offered by the Houston Health Department will encourage people to take their best shot and help save lives in the process.”

Eligible health department health center sites include:

  • Acres Home Multi-Service Center, 6719 W. Montgomery Rd.
    • Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
  • Hiram Clarke Multi-Service Center, 3810 W. Fuqua St.
    • Tuesdays: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
  • La Nueva Casa de Amigos Health Center, 1809 North Main St.
    • Mondays, Thursdays: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
    • Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Magnolia Multi-Service Center, 7037 Capitol St.
    • Thursdays: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
    • Saturdays: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Northside Health Center, 8504 Schuller Rd.
    • Mondays, Thursdays: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
    • Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Sharpstown Health Services, 6201 Bonhomme Rd.
    • Mondays, Thursdays: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
    • Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Southwest Multi-Service Center, 6400 High Star Dr.
    • Saturdays: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Sunnyside Health Center, 4605 Wilmington St.
    • Mondays, Thursdays: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
    • Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

The gift card incentive program, which was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will provide 1,900 total gift cards for Walmart, Target, Old Navy, Ross, Amazon, Shell, Walgreens, and METRO, per the press release.

“I think the idea is good. I think everyone should get the vaccine,” one man said.

“Personally, I think it’s a bad idea because I don’t think there is going to be enough money that you are going to be able to offer someone that’s anti-vaccination to actually go get it and that’s just my personal preference,” Chris Gonzalez said.

The gift cards will be provided at the time of the second dose of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or with the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are currently authorized for people age 18 and older and Pfizer is approved for people age 12 and older.

Health officials said getting vaccinated prevents serious illness, hospitalization and death while also reducing the spread of COVID-19. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, 99.5% of Texans who died from COVID-19 from February 8 through July 14, 2021, were unvaccinated.

Texas hospitals report more than 90% of patients currently hospitalized for COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

”The Delta variant is different because it is much more contagious and, while rare, vaccinated people may get infected and spread it to others,” said Dr. David Persse, chief medical officer for the City of Houston. “While this can seem discouraging, it’s important to remember the vaccines prevent almost everyone who gets a breakthrough infection from serious illness and death. Vaccines are the best tool to protect you and those around you.”

The nation’s top health expert expects things will get worse with the contagious delta variant.

“I don’t think we’re going to see lockdowns. I think we have enough of the percentage of people in the country, not enough to crush the outbreak, but I believe enough to not allow us to get into the situation we were in last winter, but things are going to get worse,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

Regardless of the incentive program, many people like Adam Fernandez are still uncertain about getting the shot.

“I already heard bad things about the vaccine so that’s why I’m unvaccinated,” he said.

Getting vaccinated is free and does not require ID, proof of residency, citizenship, or insurance.

Houston Health Department-affiliated COVID-19 vaccination sites are available with or without appointments. Locations are available at HoustonEmergency.org or by calling 832-393-4220.

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