Vaccine Uptake Initiative

With vaccine supply steadily outpacing demand, New York State, and its governmental and public health leaders are entering a new phase of the pandemic response; one which trades the “warp-speed” rush to develop and distribute a vaccine, for the slow, steady trudge toward “herd immunity.” 
Anecdotal and scientific data suggest that achieving the vaccination rates required for a complete return to normal will be a significant challenge for policy makers and public health officials. Recent surveys show nearly 30% of Americans still have significant misgivings about receiving the vaccine.
In this environment, county leaders and Local Health Departments' (LHDs) status as trusted members of the community will be invaluable in building confidence in the vaccine and driving vaccine uptake in their communities. And as mass vaccination sites give way to hyper-targeted PODs, counties’ deep knowledge of and connection to their communities makes them uniquely suited to reach the populations most in need of the vaccine.
To assist counties and LHD’s with this critical work, NYSAC is collecting examples of how counties in New York and other levels of government from around the nation are reaching unvaccinated populations and publishing them here so county leaders and public health officials can easily see what other counties around the state are doing and share ideas

To share what your county is doing to promote vaccinations, send an email to

Incentive-Based Initiatives

Leveraging ARP Funds
During his State of the County address, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente announced a first-in-the-nation initiative called Boost Oneida County which use app-based technology to distribute federal recovery money directly into the hands of resident, providing incentive for vaccination and support local small businesses.

Free Beer!
Erie County announced a partnership with local breweries to hold pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinics. The "Shot and a Chaser" vaccinationprogram will offer those who receive their COVID-19 vaccine at a brewery a free drink.

Suffolk County has launched the “Lift Your Spirits” program to incentivize vaccinations for those who may not yet rolled up their sleeves. Residents aged 21 and over who get vaccinated at a Suffolk County site can receive a ticket for a free glass of wine, beer, tasting, or cocktail at one of their local participating businesses.

Free Tickets to Events
Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city would start offering incentives for vaccinations including free tickets to the NYC Aquarium, Brooklyn Botanical Garden, Bronx Zoo, Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Cyclones, NYC Ferry and the Public Theater among other popular attractions.
Free Food
New York City announced in that for the rest of May, people who show their CDC-issued vaccine cards at any of the 25 Shake Shacks in the city will get a free side of fries.  Additionally, individuals vaccinated at one of the city's mobile vaccine clinics in the days following the announcement will earn a voucher for a free burger or sandwich to use whenever they want.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy recently annouced a partnership with Dunkin' Donuts to provide a $5 Dunkin’ Gift Cards for the next 2,000 coutny residents to get vaccinated at county-run clinics.

National Franchises Offering Incentives
Krispy Kreme has offered free daily doughnuts to those who can show proof of their vaccinations and White Castle will offer a free dessert-on-a-stick to those with vaccine cards until the end of May 

From now until July 25, Staples and Office Depot will laminate vaccine cards for free to protect them from crumbs and other damage.

Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine announced five, weekly drawings of $1 million open to residents who've received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. A similar lottery for teenagers will provide the lucky names with a full, four-year scholarship to a public university in Ohio - room and board included. The money will come from existing federal Coronavirus Relief Funds.

Three Balls, Two Strikes, One Jab
Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin and ValleyCats President Rick Murphy announced a partnership between the county and team to host vaccination clinics at the ValleyCat’s stadium.

Their Opening Day vaccination clinic on June 4 will be the first of seven clinics throughout the summer. Patrons who get vaccinated like, on Opening Day will receive a free family four-pack to a 'Cats game on Aug. 29.


Public Awareness Initiatives

Suffolk County launched a #CampVax initiative to encourage camp counselors, staff and kids 12 and older to get vaccinated ahead of the start of summer camps. CampVax POD is to be held from 3-8PM to accomodate for after school hours. County officials contacted a total of 162 summer camps, including both day camps and overnight camps, to encourage campers, counselors and other staff to get vaccinated ahead of the start of the season.

Show the Love
In advance of Mother’s Day Westchester County hosted Mother's Day themed vaccination appointments with messaging that encouraged participants to "Show Mom your love by getting vaccinated together."

Reaching Younger Residents
Erie County this spring held “prom-themed teen vaccine” events to each site will be decorated with a theme like a prom and will have an assortment of giveaways. Giveaway items included mugs and reusable water bottles, gift cards and electronic devices and a coupon for graduation party supplies.

Sharing Stories from the Community
Seneca County Health Department launched an initiative seeking community members willing to share their “WHY.” The county is asking participants to submit 2-5 sentences explaining your “why” they got their vaccine along with a photo. Throughout the month of May they will randomly select submissions to post on their social media platforms and website in an effort to highlight the wide variety of reasons people in our county have received the vaccine.

Vax & Vote
Suffolk County has implemented a Vax & Vote Clinic– partnering with local school districts during their school board elections and budget vote, effectively utilizing polling place traffic.

Bringing the Vaccine to Essential Workers
Suffolk County started a program called Bodega Blitz which assembled a group of ambassadors/local volunteers who went door to door to enroll bodega employees for appointments onsite.

Improved Access Initiatives

Getting to Appointments
President Joe Biden unveiled a new program from the ride-sharing companies Lyft and Uber, which will offer free rides to anyone going to a vaccination site to get vaccinated. The ride sharing companies will promote rides to and from tens of thousands of vaccination sites through their apps. People will be able to simply select a vaccination site near them, follow simple directions to redeem their ride, and then get a ride to take them to and from a nearby vaccination site free of charge. The feature will launch in the next two weeks and run until July 4.
Additionally, Albany County announced that they were providing free transportation to vaccination appointments at their County Health Department POD for anyone at least 60 years old (and a caregiver). Interested residents are asked to the County Department for Aging in advance of their appointment to arrange transportation.

Targeting Underserved Areas
MVP Health Care, Schenectady County, and CDTA entered a partnership to bring COVID-19 vaccines to neighborhoods in Schenectady County with lower than County average vaccination rates.
The one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be available at predetermined locations throughout the County starting Thursday, May 20. The CDTA trolley will stop at locations that include food pantries, faith-based organizations, libraries, and municipal housing sites over a two-month time period.
Every community member who gets a vaccine during these PODs will reportedly receive a voucher for a free scoop of ice cream from Stewart’s Shops while supplies last and will be entered to win a $500 Visa gift card from MVP Health Care.

Vaccines in the Workplace
Warren County Health Services is beginning a program to offer on-site vaccine clinics at workplaces. If your business has staff who want to be vaccinated without having to leave their workplace.
Home Visits
The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) introduced a service where a “Vax Visit” team will go to any individual’s residence to administer COVID-19 vaccine.
Any Erie County resident can call the Erie County COVID-19 Information Line at (716) 858-2929 to schedule a Vax Visit. The program will use Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine as supply is available.
Tioga County is also conducting home visits, bringing the vaccine to qualified individuals who have a disability, use medical equipment that requires accessible transportation, are unable or have significant difficulty leaving home for medical appointments, or are unhoused/living in temporary housing.
Get Vaccinated on your Commute
The MTA recently announced that they are partnering with the New York State Department of Health, SOMOS, Northwell Health, and Westchester Medical Center to launch pop-up vaccination sites inside 8 stations across New York City, Westchester, and Long Island. From Wednesday, May 12, through Sunday, May 16, the sites will be giving out the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine and we’ll be giving out free rides. No appointments necessary.

Mobile Vaccine Clinics
In early April, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the launch of mobile vaccinations, with mobile vaccine vans and buses reaching some of the hardest-to-reach New Yorkers with COVID-19 vaccines.

Vaccine/Belmont Exacta
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a new mobile pop-up vaccination site at Belmont Park to coincide with the 2021 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, which culminates with the 153rd running of the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 5. Racing fans who get vaccinated at the site will receive complimentary general admission to the 2022 Belmont Stakes. New York State will partner with Northwell Health and the New York Racing Association, Inc., on the vaccination site. The site will utilize the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

To share what your county is doing to promote vaccinations, send an email to