Some are opting to get the COVID-19 vaccine at bars
▶ Watch Video: States trying to entice vaccine holdouts by offering them money, free booze
Health officials across the country are getting creative in how they convince hesitant Americans to get the COVID-19 vaccine. In West Virginia, the state will give residents ages 16 to 35 a $100 saving bond if they get vaccinated.
The incentives come as the amount of Americans getting vaccinated is dropping. According to the CDC, the daily average for vaccinations has dropped 20% since the start of the month, a worrying trend.
Less than one-third of Louisiana’s population has received a first dose. The state has mass vaccination sites, including one located in Baton Rouge. But these locations are inconvenient for some.
Instead, some Louisianans — like Brandon Breaux and his friends — are opting to get their shot inside bars.
“It was a shot for a shot night,” Breaux told CBS News’ Omar Villafranca.
The “Shots for Shots” program is run by Relief, a telehealth company. Bartender Kurtis Johnson had a Moderna shot waiting for him when he went to work for his shift.
“Well, the convenience is what spoke to me most today. The fact that it’s literally five feet away from me. I work late nights. So I’ve just never found the time or been too exhausted to go out,” he said.
That type of convenience makes a difference in reaching the unvaccinated, said Relief CEO Vishal Vasanji.
“People trust people that they’re familiar with. And so, you know, if we’re friends, I can come to you and say, ‘Hey, the process was easy. Here’s what it is.’ And it might get you one step closer to getting vaccinated,” he said.
But success varies by night. Only a handful of people got the shot at one participating bar.
Dr. Joseph Kanter, the Louisiana State Health Officer, said the state is administering less than 70% of the first doses delivered from the federal government.
“We’re taking the kitchen sink approach here. No idea is bad. Every idea is worth considering,” Kanter said.
When it comes to people who are vaccine-hesitant, Kanter said most aren’t totally against vaccination.
“Most people just have questions. They’re on the fence. They want to talk it out. They want to wait and see. It’s all about empowering trusted messengers in communities,” he said.
Kanter believes the best messengers tend to be people’s own doctors, and that’s the case for Katie Alligood, who has not gotten vaccinated.
“Are you a hard no?” Villafranca asked.
“No, I’m not a hard no. I’m not a hard no. I was a hard no initially. I believe in science, and I believe in masks. I just don’t know how I feel about the vaccine. I don’t get flu shots, but our kids are fully vaccinated. It’s not that. So that’s just kind of where I am,” she said.
State health officials admit people are tired of hearing from the government to get a shot, so they’re reaching out to church leaders and football teams to target their message.