Free food, beer, haircuts: Are incentives helping more people get vaccinated?


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A national push to increase vaccination rate is underway, with many clinics now offering incentives to bring people in for the shot, but are these gifts helping to get more people vaccinated?

A pop-up vaccination clinic will be held at Visions Barber Shop in Rochester’s 19th ward this weekend, offering a voucher for a free haircut with a vaccine.

“They see familiar faces doing the vaccine, then they’re more ready to come in and do it also,” said Ronnie Davis, Co-owner Visions Barbershop.

The shop is partnering with organizations like Rochester Area Community Foundation, the Rotary Club of Rochester Southwest, and His Branches Community Health Center to put on the event. 

The location, business and even the incentive were all picked to reach as many people as possible.

“In our community, barbers are trusted more than pastors, more than doctors, more than anyone else. So we’re just trying to see people like Ronnie who have gone first and leverage their experience so they can encourage other people to do the same thing,” said Mike Weston, Executive Director of His Branches.

To boost vaccinations, many shots now come with incentives. Lottery tickets, beer, even college scholarships are just some of the things up for grabs. 

But are these incentives working? On Park Avenue, some people who already got the shot say yes. 

“It doesn’t make me envious, and I hope everyone does get it and hope those incentives do help other people get the vaccine,” said Janelle Walters, Nazareth College student, who is vaccinated.

However, for those who are not vaccinated, they say they have their own reason for not getting the vaccine — and free gifts will not make a difference. 

“I just haven’t had the time to get in yet with sports, really I didn’t want to do it in the middle of it. The incentives don’t really make a difference,” said another Nazareth College student, who is un-vaccinated.

The pop-up clinic at Vision Barbershop where you can get free food and a hair cut is happening Friday June 5, for people ages 12 and up.

Registration can be found here, but walk-in are accepted. The second shot will be at the same location on June 26.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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