Summit County commissioners discuss incentives to encourage residents to get vaccinated |

Summit County commissioners discuss incentives to encourage residents to get vaccinated

People wait in line to receive a coronavirus vaccine at the Summit County Commons on March 5 in Frisco. Appointments are no longer needed to get vaccinated at a county-run clinic.
Photo by Jefferson Geiger /

Should Summit County offer incentives to residents as a way to push vaccination efforts, and if so, what would that look like?

The Board of Health contemplated that question at its meeting Tuesday, April 27. After Public Health Director Amy Wineland concluded her presentation on the county’s vaccination efforts, Summit County Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence suggested offering incentives as a way to encourage residents to get vaccinated.

During Wineland’s presentation, she reported that Summit County is third in the state for getting its population immunized with one or more doses. Currently, 49.6% of Summit County’s residents are fully vaccinated, with 71.5% vaccinated with at least one dose. While these numbers look promising, Lawrence said she was worried about the percentage of vaccinated residents in the 20-29 age group.

According to the county’s website, that age group is only 22.4% vaccinated.

During the meeting, Lawrence brought up the notion of possibly creating incentives and suggested the commissioners get creative in brainstorming ideas.

Commissioner Tamara Pogue echoed Lawrence’s thoughts and suggested hosting vaccination clinics at popular hangout spots, such as Arapahoe Basin Ski Area and in Breckenridge.

Pogue also noted that local businesses are having a tough time encouraging workers in that age group to get vaccinated. While Pogue said she’d like to see businesses come up with incentives, she suggested the county implement its own measures, such as offering Spotify gift cards. Other ideas thrown around were free food and live music.

Wineland agreed that hosting clinics in popular areas where younger people frequently visit would be beneficial. She also said people in their 20s tend to be more interested in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because of the simplicity of a single dose and avoiding the side effects that sometimes come along with a second dose. Wineland said the county has asked for more orders of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and will continue to do so.

Wineland said she suspects the slow response by those in their 20s to get vaccinated doesn’t mean they don’t want to. Rather it’s that they just haven’t made time to get it done. Wineland agreed that hosting clinics near popular areas in town might help.

Wineland also suggested the possibility of messaging revolving around family members as a way to incentivize young adults to get a vaccine. Since mud season is a popular time of year for workers to visit family and friends outside the region, pushing messaging centered on grandparents or parents might prove effective, she said.

As the county continues to ramp up its efforts to get residents vaccinated, it’s no longer requiring individuals to preregister for an appointment. People can simply show up and receive a vaccine at any of the county’s clinics, which are posted on the county’s website and Facebook page.

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