Boynton Beach offers $ 100 gift cards at vaccination event


BOYNTON BEACH – When Dr Dwight Reynolds learned how few black Floridians have been vaccinated against COVID-19, he said he wanted to help boost those numbers.

So when the city decided to give away $ 100 gift cards to vaccine researchers on Saturday at the Ezell Hester Jr. Community Center, he took his chance.

Reynolds, who runs the Centers for Health Promotion, led his “vaccine strike force” of about 12 doctors, nurses and medical assistants to immunize people who went to the centre’s gymnasium for their shots. Like Reynolds, most of the residents living in the surrounding neighborhoods are black.

“I found out that the vaccination rate in the black community was only 30%. 100, ”he said. “Yes, I’m coming from Fort Lauderdale,” where he practices emergency medicine.

The Florida Department of Health reported on Friday that only 32% of black residents aged 12 and older statewide had received at least one dose of the free vaccine, compared to 70% of all eligible residents.

The city held the 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. immunizations on the same day and at the same location as a Boynton Beach Bulldogs football game.

Its medical staff helped answer questions and guide vaccine seekers as they walked through the gym doors, registering, receiving the vaccine, and sitting in a waiting area for 15 minutes in the event of effects. secondary.

Previous coverage:Boynton Inoculation Event Aims To Put “Real Money” In The Pockets Of The Unvaxxed

Covid news:Florida breaks record for COVID-19 deaths for fifth consecutive week as vaccinations and infections slow

Dr Dwight Reynolds, a Broward County emergency medicine specialist, and Tenaise Joseph, a registered nurse, prepare the Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines during Saturday's event at the Hester Center in Boynton Beach.  MEGHAN McCARTHY / The Palm Beach Post

He spoke for about 10 minutes with vaccine researcher Keith Terry, answering questions about the vaccine.

Terry, an electrical engineer in his fifties, is not an anti-vaccine. He keeps a bottle of hand sanitizer in his pocket, wears his mask and has done extensive research on the vaccine, he said. He read websites such as the American Medical Association, checking the sources they cited at the bottom of their articles on the COVID-19 vaccine, he said, while avoiding questionable media reports. social.

Terry hadn’t felt in danger since he was following the masking and social distancing guidelines, so he didn’t feel the urgency to get vaccinated. “I never succeeded,” he said.

But Terry had a good reason to have the jab on Saturday. “One of the ladies (from the medical staff) asked me if I was getting the vaccine for a woman,” he said. “I said, ‘Yes, for my mother,'” he replied, laughing. Terry is helping take care of his fully immunized elderly mother, he said, so he didn’t want to put her in further danger.

The fatal respiratory disease was particularly fatal for the elderly – 77% of its victims statewide were 65 and over. And even fully vaccinated elderly people can feel the unpleasant effects of COVID-19 if they catch the coronavirus.

A married couple living west of Boynton Beach, Jimmy Pomerance and his wife Tobi, contracted the virus and contracted COVID-19 in July after a trip to Utah. He is 66 and she is 62. Both experienced fatigue and loss of smell and taste, common symptoms of the disease.

Dr Dwight Reynolds lines up COVID-19 vaccine doses on Saturday at the Hester Center in Boynton Beach.  MEGHAN McCARTHY / The Palm Beach Post

Terry added that the $ 100 gift card Boynton Beach gave the first 500 recipients on Saturday also helped win him over.

Amanda, a woman in her 30s who requested that her real name not be used, originally planned to be shot three weeks ago, she said. But her younger sister advised against it, saying the vaccine would disrupt her DNA.

“When someone puts an idea in your mind” – especially someone you trust, said Amanda – “it makes you wonder if it’s safe. You take your time to educate yourself.”

But after seeing other vaccinated people she knew not suffering from any side effects, she decided to come to the Hester Center on Saturday. It helped that the center was close to her home, she said, and she didn’t need to make an appointment. She also wanted to help protect the “high-risk community” such as the elderly, she said. And the city’s $ 100 offer helped.

“I think the gift card is an incentive,” Amanda said. “But if you feel like something is unsure, you wouldn’t want to inject it into your body for $ 100.” She is not sure where her little sister heard the misinformation about the vaccine. Probably TikTok, she says.

As Amanda sat for 15 minutes in the waiting room after receiving her first injection, she felt dizzy. Reynolds and his team came and checked his blood pressure with a pump cuff monitor. The result: 130 out of 80. Normal. Amanda supposed she was feeling a little weak because she hadn’t had breakfast yet.

Reynolds sat next to Amanda to answer questions and explain the side effects of the vaccine, such as a sore arm.

While doing so, a young man named James Toby Reed, who had just received his first injection, also spoke to Amanda. “Yeah, you’re going to feel dizzy for a few days,” he told her. “And your arm is going to be sore.”

“Okay, only part of what he said is correct,” Reynolds told Amanda, using her more than 40 years of medical experience to explain things to her. She left soon after, feeling confident, with a bottle of water and a bottle of Lime Gatorade that Reynolds staff handed out to all those vaccinated.

Reed said he came to get the shot so he could see his grandmother at a nearby nursing home. And he cannot visit her without being vaccinated. Plus, that extra $ 100 is nice, he said.

“The vaccine is everything, my brother,” he said. “We need it to get to work. We need it to go anywhere.

People line up outside the Ezell Hester Jr. Community Center in Boynton Beach on Saturday to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Some companies have started requiring their employees to be vaccinated. President Joe Biden announced on September 9 that he would make COVID-19 inoculation mandatory for federal employees and contractors. It also plans to order the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to require tests or vaccination for companies with at least 100 employees, on pain of fines.

Reynolds’ team will return to the Hester Center on October 21 to offer follow-up shots of the two-dose regimen of Moderna and Pfizer, he said, as well as the Johnson & Johnson one-shot treatment.

“I think what’s going to happen is people will see that we are a legitimate organization,” Reynolds said, and residents who were previously skeptical will come back for their second injection.

Twelve Palm Beach County hospitals reported on Saturday that 83% of the 422 COVID-19 patients they are treating were not fully immunized.

Boynton Beach spent $ 50,000 on Visa gift cards, a tiny fraction of the $ 13 million the city received from the American Rescue Plan Act that Biden signed in March.

Chris Persaud is a data reporter for The Palm Beach Post. Email your tips to [email protected]

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