The city of Phoenix will soon offer Valley residents a $100 gift card to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The pilot program will start with only 1,000 gift cards distributed, but Phoenix would likely fund more if the gift cards prove to increase vaccination rates.
“What we’d like to do in the next couple of months: see how these 1,000 gift cards incentivize the number of individuals being vaccinated in our underserved communities,” said Assistant City Manager Jeff Barton during last week’s City Council meeting. “If in fact we do see an uptick in the number of vaccinations, we would come back to Council and ask for additional resources to continue that program. If we don’t, then we would stop there.”
The gift cards will be to local grocery stores, food chains or gas stations. Other incentives, donated by the city’s clinical partners in distributing the vaccines, include boxes of food or backpacks for children.
City Council approved the $100 vaccine incentive gift cards 6-2 Tuesday, Sept. 14. The vote was combined with a pilot program for family assistance funding that will pay 1,000 Phoenix families $1,000 a month for 12 months.
Councilmen Sal DiCiccio and Jim Waring were the no-votes. Councilwoman Ann O’Brien was absent.
Both programs are paid for with federal coronavirus relief funds through the American Rescue Plan Act. City Council approved a spending plan for its entire $196 million share of ARPA funds last week.
In late July, President Joe Biden announced that city’s could use ARPA funds for $100 coronavirus vaccine incentives and encouraged them to do so.
As of last week, Phoenix is offering COVID-19 vaccinations through its two mobile testing vans.
“We are now in the vaccine game,” Barton said Tuesday, Sept 14.
The vans previously only offered coronavirus tests. As of Monday, Sept. 13, along with testing, the vans are also offering vaccinations at their near-daily events. The vans prioritize underserved areas and areas with high transmission rates in the city.
Click here for the schedule and locations of the vans’ testing and vaccination events.
The gift card program will cost $100,000 in ARPA funds, or more if the pilot program is expanded.
Click here to view a breakdown of Phoenix’s ARPA spending.