Vaccine Participation No Slam ‘Dunk’ [OPINION]
There are those among us who can be bought off with a Dunkin' gift card. Okay, I can be bought off with a Dunkin' gift card.
But can a bunch of senior citizens who have thus far eluded a COVID-19 vaccine be bought off with a Dunkin' gift card? That remains to be seen.
The Mitchell Administration has announced that beginning Wednesday, those 65 years old and older who receive a first vaccine dose at a participating vaccination site will receive a $20 Dunkin' gift card. Is that fair?
Those sites include the walk-up FEMA-run clinic at the Waterfront Vaccination Center on Hervey Tichon Avenue, or at the New Bedford Health Department-operated clinics – including the Andrea McCoy Recreation Center, New Bedford Health Department mobile clinics, and homebound vaccination appointments run by the Health Department and EMS.
The administration says while most of New Bedford’s seniors are vaccinated, the average vaccination rate for those 65 and up is lower than the state average. Mayor Jon Mitchell says his administration will purchase the gift cards from local franchises and offer them as incentives to entice more seniors to get a shot.
"Although we continue to learn more about COVID-19 all the time, there is no doubt that seniors are at far greater risk of serious illness from the disease than younger adults,” Mitchell saidl. “If this modest incentive ends up saving lives by convincing more seniors to get vaccinated, it’ll have been worth every penny.”
I'm not entirely sure a cup or two of Joe is going to persuade someone who has thus far been reluctant to get jabbed to do so, but I suppose it's worth a shot. If free chow mein sandwiches get seniors in Fall River to vote, perhaps free coffee from Dunkin' will work to get New Bedford seniors to the clinic. We shall see.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.