SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Millions of Bay State residents have gotten their COVID-19 vaccine, but now, state officials are working to ease vaccine hesitancy.
“I’m starting to worry about new things. The thing I’m worried about now is vaccine hesitancy,” said Baystate Health President and CEO Dr. Mark Keraock.
The push to get people vaccinated continues as health experts and state officials shift their focus to vaccine hesitancy as active cases and hospitalizations decline.
“Vaccination is the key for you to be able to protect yourselves, protect others and to really, I think, feel supported with the community reopening,” said Dr. Robert Roose, chief medical officer at Mercy Medical Center.
Now, local leaders are considering offering incentives for getting the vaccine like a gift card to the grocery store.
“We have continued to discuss with the team the ability of doing something to be able to incentivize individuals, particularly younger individuals under the age of 30,” said Springfield Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris.
While there's nothing set in stone yet, one local restaurant has already been offering something to customers.
“We’ve been offering 20 percent off food for anybody that gets a vaccination shot every Monday,” said Bill Stetson, owner of the Rumbleseat Bar and Grille in Chicopee.
Stetson told Western Mass News that the incentive started back in February and will last until the mask mandate is lifted and he explained his reasoning for offering this.
“…To create a positive stigmatism about the vaccination process, especially having a young crowd here as well,” Stetson added.
It’s not just the customers that come in and eat that the Rumbleseat that will receive a benefit if they get the COVID-19 vaccine. The employees will also receive an incentive if they get vaccinated.
“We offer all of our staff a $100 bonus for getting a vaccination shot,” Stetson explained.
National companies are also offering rewards for getting vaccinated.
The NFL plans to give away 50 Super Bowl tickets to fans who have been vaccinated. The league announced to win a pair of tickets, fans will have to share their story of why they decided to get the vaccine.
Target is giving away $5 coupons to customers who receive their vaccine at CVS Pharmacy at Target locations. Sign-ups can be done online at cvs.com.
Krispy Kreme is giving away one free glazed doughnut every day if you bring your vaccine card. No other purchase is necessary.
If you are heading to a Hartford Yard Goats game this month, officials said if you get your vaccine at the game, you’ll get a Dunkin’ gift card and four tickets to future games.
So, as the push to get vaccinated continues, doctors have a common message.
“Step up, roll up your sleeve, and get vaccinated if you haven’t already,” Roose said.
Keroack added, "Please get your shots and please try to persuade the people you care about to get the shots. It really is our chance at getting past this crazy time.”