Gwinnett County to offer $100 gift cards for vaccines this weekend

08/18/2021 — Lawrenceville, Georgia — A registered nurse prepares a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine during a free vaccination event held by the Gwinnett, Newton, Rockdale County Health Department at Discovery High School in Lawrenceville, Wednesday, August 18, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

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08/18/2021 — Lawrenceville, Georgia — A registered nurse prepares a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine during a free vaccination event held by the Gwinnett, Newton, Rockdale County Health Department at Discovery High School in Lawrenceville, Wednesday, August 18, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Gwinnett County is offering $100 Visa gift cards, while supplies last, to people age 5 and older who receive a COVID-19 shot this weekend as part of the Finish Strong Together drive.

“I encourage all residents to finish 2021 strong, get their COVID-19 vaccine or booster and receive some extra holiday spending money,” County Commission Chairwoman Nicole Love Hendrickson said during a meeting this week.

People receiving their first, second or booster shots are eligible for gift cards.

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The drive includes four locations: one run by Emergent Testing at 3110 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road in Suwanee, one run by Piedmont Eastside at 1800 Tree Lane, Suite 250 in Snellville and another run by COVID Care Georgia at Plaza Las Americas, 733 Pleasant Hill Road in Lilburn. Appointments are full at the Gwinnett Place Mall.

Dates, times and registration links are available at finishstrongtogether.com. Appointments are strongly encouraged, according to a news release.

The vaccines are free. Identification and insurance cards are encouraged but not required. Those who have already received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine should bring their vaccination cards.

“We have worked with partners across this community to ensure that there are vaccine locations close to where our residents live, work and shop and that there are extended hours to remove barriers to getting the much-needed vaccine,” said Dr. Audrey Arona, district health director for Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale County Health Departments, in the news release.

The county purchased the gift cards with federal coronavirus relief funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Pfizer and BioNTech said this week that its booster significantly protects against the new omicron variant of the virus, but only two doses might not be enough.

Public health officials in Gwinnett County are seeing a rise in booster demand after news of the omicron variant hit.

The Gwinnett, Newton, and Rockdale County Health Departments has vaccinated around 200-300 people on most recent Saturdays, said Arona.

The department delivered shots into the arms of 396 people on Saturday, Dec. 4, not counting 273 vaccines given during an incentive event in Rockdale County. For comparison, officials from the three-county health district administered 293 vaccines on Saturday, Nov. 27.

Most of the shots are boosters, Arona said.

Only 55% of Gwinnett’s population is fully vaccinated, according to the vaccine dashboard from the state’s Department of Public Health, giving local officials a push to continue offering incentives.

The department first gave out $100 gift cards during an October weekend to about 2,000 people who got vaccinated at a site off Pleasant Hill Road. Other communities in Georgia, including DeKalb County, have also found success with offering cash rewards in return for shots.

Arona added that health officials are eyeing people between the ages of 18-50 to get their shots. “That’s the age group that will end this pandemic,” she said.