A concerted push to motivate more Kansans to get the COVID vaccine

Coronavirus in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — From cash to gift cards and lottery tickets, the incentives to make Kansans get the COVID vaccine are rolling in. As the COVID cases continue to surge and hospital beds fill up, Sedgwick County is having a hard time motivating people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Sedgwick County Health Director Adrienne Byrne said she expects 20% of people in the county will never get the vaccine but added that the other 20 to 30% are slowly coming into clinics.

There is a slight increase in those coming in to get the first shot, but with as many cases in Sedgwick County now as there were in January of 2021, incentives could motivate people to get in the clinics. 

“It is extremely concerning about what’s going on in our community,” said Byrne. “We’ll ask what brings you in at this point, why now? And some we’re hearing fear of the delta variant being so strong and a lot of others, it’s pressure, peer pressure, family pressure.”

Funding for an incentive in Sedgwick County is still in the works. 

“We thought we might be able to use one pot of money, and then, that didn’t work out,” said Byrne. “You know, hopefully, an incentive of staying out of the hospital and alive are good incentives because that’s what vaccine is right now.”

Byrne said the department keeps stressing the importance of the vaccine. 

Lindsborg Assistant City Manager Lucas Neece said the city found a quick way to pay residents $50 for getting the first and second shots. 

While waiting for the city to approve ARPA funding, the McPherson County Community Foundation is helping foot the bill for now. 

“We want to make sure that kids and college students are going to be safe, and that they’re going to have a good start to the year,” said Neece. “We in Lindsborg, we really want to do what we can to move the ball forward, whether it’s on COVID or childcare or lots of other issues, and we’re trying to make sure that we don’t wait for something to happen.”

Neece said it’s bringing more people in. 

Lindsborg will discuss the approval of $50,000 to go towards the shot incentives on Monday, August 23. The incentive is expected to go until the end of August. 

Sedgwick County is continuing to look for other funding options.

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