SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) – Incentives to get COVID-19 shots are on the table in western Massachusetts. The state’s Department of Public Health is offering $75 gift cards to people getting vaccines at certain locations, including four sites in Springfield.
“This is a higher incentive than we’ve done in the past and the other good news that we know, we’ve been offering this for about a week and we’ve seen quite a bit of uptake and in the clinic, I think about a thousand doses in the first week have been given out,” said Dr. Estevan Garcia, chief medical officer with Mass. DPH.
The clinics across the state are offering Massachusetts residents $75 VISA gift cards for receiving a COVID-19 vaccine or booster. These shots are free and no proof of health insurance is required. A number of Springfield locations are participating in the incentive program and have special sessions scheduled. They include:
East Springfield Neighborhood Council, 1437 Carew Street
- Tuesday, Nov. 1 – 3 to 6 p.m.
- Tuesday, Nov. 8 – 3 to 6 p.m.
- Tuesday, Nov. 15 – 3 to 6 p.m.
- Tuesday, Nov. 22 – 3 to 6 p.m.
- Tuesday, Nov. 29 – 3 to 6 p.m.
Indian Orchard Citizens Council, 117 Main Street
- Thursday, Nov. 3 – 3 to 6 p.m.
- Thursday, Nov. 10 – 3 to 6 p.m.
- Thursday, Nov. 17 – 3 to 6 p.m.
Springfield Technology Park, 1 Federal Street
- Thursday, Nov. 3 – 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- Saturday, Nov. 5 – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Thursday, Nov. 10 – 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- Saturday, Nov. 12 – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Thursday, Nov. 17 – 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- Saturday, Nov. 19 – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Saturday, Nov. 26 – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 33 Oak Street
- Friday, Nov. 11 – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Locations were chosen to be a part of the incentive program based on low vaccine rates. Garcia told Western Mass News more about this new push.
“The reason we decided to offer his incentive and push, we what call our fall push, is because we’re anticipating we will see a winter surge like we have seen previously and understanding this potential and likely we want to give folks the opportunity to get vaccinated and protect against that winter surge,” Garcia noted.
Indian Orchard was chosen to be a part of the vaccine equity initiative because of the area’s low vaccine rates. We spoke with Zaida Govan, the president of the Indian Orchard Citizen Council and Ward 8 City Councilor, who hopes these clinics will change that.
“Indian Orchard was one of the communities that had a very low vaccine rate and when we started this program back earlier in the year, around May or June, the vaccine rate was under 50 percent and at this time, I believe it is going close to 60 percent, which is really great and we really hope that is going to continue to increase,” Govan explained.
Govan also told us she expects between 10 and 20 people to get vaccinated each week. The clinic at Indian Orchard Citizens Council starts Thursday and runs every Thursday through the rest of the year. The location will also host some clinics on Saturdays.
“You don’t need an appointment. You come, it’s first come, first served, and until supplies last. We encourage you to come early…Please come out, get vaccinated, protect yourself, protect your family, and I think we will all be much better off in the end,” Govan added.
The incentive program throughout the Commonwealth will run from now until December 31. You do not need an appointment, but some sites recommend registering ahead of time.
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