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Hawaii island health center offering up to $100 in gift cards as COVID vaccination incentive

The Bay Clinic in Hilo is now offering a new incentive for Hawaii island residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine — up to $100 in gift cards.

Those who get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine will receive $50 per shot in gift cards, while those getting the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will get $100 in gift cards, according to Bay Clinic CEO Kimo Alameda.

The offerings just began on Tuesday, and seem to be working so far, he said. Phones have been ringing off the hook, and COVID-19 vaccine appointments have been scheduled through next week.

“Bay Clinic has been incentivizing the vaccine in different ways,” said Alameda. “We’ve been doing outreach, we’ve provided bento lunches and cultural entertainment. We’ve gone to the Hawaiian homesteads, and we’ve gone to Miloloii. We’ve been working down the list of what would work next and now we’re at a critical point where it would take more than just information or the health benefits of getting vaccinated.”

Alameda said rather than offering cash, Bay Clinic decided to offer gift cards supporting local businesses including KTA Superstores, Kawamato Store, and Cronies Bar & Grill. There are also gift cards for gas and national chains such as Safeway.

Most of the gift cards are for food items to address food insecurity while supporting businesses, according to Alameda.

“So we think it’s a win-win all around,” he said.

Bay Clinic is a federally qualified health center with nine locations and one mobile unit serving East Hawaii, including Hilo, Keaau, Pahoa, and Kau.

Alameda said Bay Clinic is targeting the one-third of the population that are either procrastinating or on the fence, but not opposed to the COVID-19 vaccines.

Parts of Hawaii island, including Pahoa and Mountain View, have a completed vaccination rate of 35% or less, according to the Hawaii Depatment of Health, which tracks progress by zip code.

To schedule a Bay Clinic vaccination appointment, call 965-3047.

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