Updated September 20, 2021 - 7:22 am
A $100 gift card was enough incentive for 64-year-old David Pruitt to be the first in line to get the COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday morning.
“I did it because they got the gift cards,” Pruitt said. “But I feel good, and I’m glad I got it. Now I don’t have to worry about getting sick again.”
Pruitt was one of about 100 people who lined up outside Eldorado High School, 1139 N. Linn Lane, before the doors opened for a pop-up vaccine clinic. But unlike previous vaccine events, Clark County was handing out $100 Mastercard gift cards to the first 500 people.
The line of people waiting for their shots and gifts cards snaked around the building an hour before doors opened at 10 a.m.
Clark County spokeswoman Stacey Welling said the clinic distributed 423 vaccine doses on Saturday. Appointments and walk-ins were accepted.
The clinic will be open again from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, with 500 more gift cards to distribute.
“This is probably one of the biggest crowds we’ve had since they were at the Convention Center, or the Raiders game,” said Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones.
Pruitt said he and 48-year-old Teresa Cromwell, who also lives near the school, were the first in line at about 6 a.m. The two strangers sat in folding chairs in the morning sun while waiting for their shots, joking with others seeking walk-up appointments.
Cromwell only showed up early because she didn’t realize the clinic started later in the morning, but she was still determined to get the gift card.
Like Pruitt, Cromwell said she had COVID-19 earlier in the pandemic but didn’t feel an urgency to get the vaccine.
“I just have been procrastinating,” she said. “I’ve made appointments, and I haven’t went to those appointments. But like I said, an extra hundred bucks and I’m like, ‘OK, I’m convinced.’”
High case numbers
The 89110 ZIP code, where the high school is located, has seen the third-highest number of COVID-19 cases in Clark County since the summer surge began in June, according to records maintained by the Review-Journal.
As of Friday, 53.29 percent of people age 12 or older in Clark County have been fully vaccinated, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Clark County commissioner Tick Segerblom, whose district includes the area surrounding the high school, said the economic incentive seemed to go a long way to convince people to get the shot.
“This is our last recourse. We just have to go in the neighborhoods, get people, adults, their kids, get them vaccinated,” he said Saturday morning.
Segerblom said the $100,000 spent on gift cards for both days was worth it if it means increasing vaccination rates.
“We just need to get people vaccinated and make sure our economy doesn’t collapse again,” he said.
Ethan Lucero, 19, said he had been putting off getting vaccinated because of potential side effects and a fear of needles. He was making plans to get the shot regardless, but the $100 gift card was a bonus.
“It definitely play a big part in it,” said Lucero, who was one of the first to get a shot Saturday. “But honestly I just felt like now is the time to protect myself.”
Keenan Laffoon and his wife, Ursula, stood in line with their 10-month-old son, Lucca. All three got COVID-19 in December, which Laffoon said was nerve-wracking with a newborn.
The two thought they had antibodies after already testing positive for the virus.
But now that the vaccine has been available for months, they thought it was time to get inoculated. Keenan Laffoon said they showed up three hours early even though they had an appointment, just to make sure they could get a gift card.
Hopefully, he said, the money will convince others to get their shots.
“Obviously for $100, if they’re on the fence, they’re actually going to do it for that,” he said.