Memphis hopeful car sweepstakes will help tip vaccinations toward herd immunity

SCHD offers a new incetive to increase vaccine distrubution

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The City of Memphis is offering the largest incentive yet to get people vaccinated and possibly, a new car.

This announcement is coming as the community is at a point where there are about an equal number of people still susceptible to COVID-19 as there are those who are vaccinated.

With about two-thirds of the population split between vaccinated and susceptible to the virus, health leaders are trying to tip the scale for vaccinations.

They said if we see an uptick in the next month we could be in a good spot to reach herd immunity this year.

They’re hoping a chance at a new car will get us there.

“We’ve done some incentives in the past. We’ve done gift cards and given rides to the vaccine,” Memphis COO Doug McGowen said.

The City of Memphis is teaming up with the non-profit Memphis Brand for the Shot for Shot sweepstakes.

It’s open to Shelby County residents 18 or older who have been vaccinated with at least one dose or planning to do so before May 31.

You can win a Chevy Camaro, Chevy Colorado, Nissan Rogue, Nissan Altima or a car of your choice of equal or lesser value.

“I know there are folks who are hesitant or folks who think I can wait, but we’re putting you on the clock,” McGowen said. “The sweepstakes to get a new car in exchange for getting the vaccine ends May 31st.”

The announcement comes in the midst of what Memphis COO Doug McGowen calls encouraging news.

While Shelby County has 316,000 people vaccinated, which is still not halfway to herd immunity, there is about equal the number of people who are vaccinated as there are those with no antibodies remain susceptible to COVID-19.

“We really are approaching that point where we could get to a really good point in the next 30 days,” McGowen said. “It’s not just about lifting restrictions. It’s about living our lives without worrying about them.”

The more promising news is Pfizer moving its way to get emergency authorization for its vaccine in people 12 to 15 years old.

“We expect in about a week or so that they’ll come out with that authorization,” McGowen said.

“The vaccine available for people as young as 12 years old just increases the number of potential people who are eligible for vaccination or would be eligible for vaccination and make reaching the herd immunity level easier to do,” Shelby County Health Department Deputy Director David Sweat said.

As for the chances that the local epidemic will eventually become a more manageable, smaller epidemic, the Shelby County Health Department said that will likely happen, but it said cases are too high for that to happen now.

Over the last 24 hours, the County reported another 84 cases but is still averaging around 140 to 150 cases a day.

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