November 9, 2021
Funds from local donors aim to encourage COVID-19 vaccination, raise rates
St. Peter's Health and community partners announced today that they will hold a COVID-19 vaccination clinic with a cash incentive at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds. Five hundred appointments will be available online for people 18 years and older seeking their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Participants must live in Lewis and Clark, Broadwater, Jefferson, Meagher or Powell counties. Each participant will receive $50 immediately after receiving the shot.
Appointments are first-come, first-served and will open online at www.sphealth.org/VaxCash at noon on Wednesday, November 10. The clinic is slated for Wednesday, November 17, at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds. The special, first-dose vaccination effort is made possible thanks to a generous donation from Mountain Health Co-Op and the generosity of two other private donors through the St. Peter's Health Foundation.
"COVID-19 vaccination remains our best tool to fight this pandemic, helping to keep people healthy and out of the hospital," said St. Peter's Health President of the Medical Group and Family Medicine Physician Dr. Todd Wampler.
Currently, around 60 percent of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents are fully vaccinated, with over 20,000 eligible residents still not fully vaccinated.
"Our local COVID-19 vaccination rates are not where we'd like them to be. We believe the less than optimal vaccination rates are contributing to the severity of the current COVID-19 surge that is overwhelming our local health care system and leaves us more vulnerable to future surges," said Dr. Wampler.
St. Peter's and partners hope that the cash incentive will encourage people to prioritize vaccination.
"It is not uncommon for our caregivers to hear people express regret for not receiving the COVID-19 vaccine after they are hospitalized and seriously ill with the disease," said St. Peter's Health Chief Medical Officer and President of the Regional Medical Center Dr. Shelly Harkins. "Many of them tell us that they just never made the time to get the vaccine, or they never got around to it. Immediate cash reward efforts like this have proven successful in other communities, and it is just one more way that we can encourage people to take the time to get the potentially life-saving vaccine."
Three local donors to the St. Peter’s Health Foundation have stepped up to fund the effort.
"Our Foundation Board of Trustee are committed to fulfilling our mission to help St. Peter’s offer exceptional and compassionate care for our community’s health and well-being. We are pleased that Mountain Health Co-Op and the other two generous donors are working with us to be able to help facilitate this effort," said Foundation Vice President Stephen Mason. "Those funding this project are deeply committed to the health and well-being of others; it is a remarkable display of generosity that will hopefully boost our local vaccination rates."