With the percentage of individuals who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 hovering at approximately 25 percent in Forrest and Lamar counties, health officials continue to urge residents to get their vaccinations, whether that be the Moderna, Pfizer, or Johnson & Johnson variants.
To that end, Hattiesburg Clinic and Forrest Health are partnering to offer the Vaccination Appreciation Giveaway to thank those members of the community who have already been vaccinated - and to further incline those who haven’t to take that step. As part of the giveaway, anyone who has been vaccinated at a Hattiesburg Clinic or Forrest Health location will now be eligible to win $2,500 through a random drawing.
“It’s really two things - the first was to say thank you to members of the community and our staff who have already been vaccinated, and who are helping in the fight agains this pandemic by getting vaccinated,” said Dr. Bryan Batson, CEO of Hattiesburg Clinic. “The second (priority) was to encourage those who are planning to get vaccinated, or considering getting vaccinated, to go ahead and do it.
“We’re seeing a rise in cases over the last few weeks, and an emergence of the Delta variant, and that is almost exclusively occurring in unvaccinated patients. So for those people who are either planning or considering the vaccine, we want to give them some incentive to go ahead and get it done.”
The giveaway is open to anyone age 18 and older who has been vaccinated at the aforementioned locations, including the C.E. Roy Community Center and William Carey University Student Health. Six winners will be chosen at random during the week of August 8; anyone vaccinated by that time will be eligible.
No follow-up is necessary after vaccination to be eligible for the drawing.
“Anyone who has received a single shot of the Johnson & Johnson, or two shots of either Pfizer or Moderna, is automatically entered into the drawing,” Batson said. “Nothing needs to be done; anybody who is vaccinated is automatically eligible.
“(That’s) going all the way back … to December, because health care workers started getting vaccinated in December."
The winners will be chosen as follows: two individual two individual patients who are not Hattiesburg Clinic or Forrest Health employees; two Hattiesburg Clinic individual employees; and two Forrest Health individual employees.
“We’ve given over 33,000 doses over the Health Works facility, and several hundred more through Hattiesburg Clinic and Forrest Health,” Batson said. “So we’re talking 35,000 doses, roughly.
“The winners, for eligibility, are being broken up into (the above) three separate groups, and each group gets two winners, and each winner gets $2,500. So that’s a total of $15,000 in rewards.”
Winners will be notified the week of the drawing.
“We will contact them confidentially,” Batson said. “It’s a random drawing, from everybody who’s been vaccinated in those three groups.
“We have to do it confidentially for (Health Information Privacy) reasons. We’ll ask the winners if they are willing to share their names, but they will be contacted confidentially.”
For a complete list of rules and regulations for the drawing, visit www.hattiesburgclinic.com/vax-rewards.
“There are lots of (vaccination) slots available through the Hattiesburg facilities, the Forrest General facilities, through Health Works,” Batson said. “People can book an appointment through Iris for the Health Works Vaccine Clinic; they can call (601) 261-1620 to book an appointment.
"And we’re also doing another vaccine clinic at the C.E. Roy Community Center Saturday, July 17 from 9 o’clock until noon. We’ll be offering Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson at the C.E. Roy. So there’s lots of opportunities for people to get vaccinated between now and August 8 to be eligible for one of these prizes.”