ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Across the country, COVID-19 vaccine incentives are popping up, hoping to get thousands of unvaccinated Americans to change their minds. From free food, to paid-time off, to free college scholarships, there are a lot of rewards out there, but they can be hard to find—which is why some New York residents have come up with an app to help.
The Vaccination Rewards app was created by Bright Mind Enrichment. It compiles hundreds of vaccine incentives into one area and makes it easy to share the rewards with those who may be hesitant to get the vaccine.
“We will make it really simple, we’ve got 200 incentives, we’ve scoured the web to find them,” says Craig Kaufman, the executive director of Bright Mind Enrichment. He says the app is simple and user-friendly, and that he hopes it brings a more positive and exciting approach to getting the vaccine.
“There’s a lot of you’re on this side or you’re on that side and a lot of things with the pandemic and a lot of things now, and we felt like this a thing where we really, really honestly genuinely feel that anyone on any side, any idea, any whatever, who doesn’t like a free this or that,” Kaufman said.
Recent reports show 21% of adults who were hesitant to get the vaccine in January have now gotten the shot. The goal for this platform is to make that number even higher. “My hope is that this app and these incentives, for either where they work or things that they can get outside of work, would be the thing that might sway them to get off the fence,” said Martin Brooks, Board of Directors of BME and Chairman of App.
Brooks is an upstate native who lived in Geneva for five years and studied in Rochester. He is excited to be part of this app. “There’s no other app that I’ve seen that’s like this,” Brooks said. “This is unique for what’s out there in terms of vaccinations.”
Kaufman says some of the most popular incentives have been lottery tickets and scholarships. He also said paid-time off and free child care have helped a lot of families.
Another benefit to the app is the conversation it starts about getting vaccinated. Health experts have said conversations between friends and family members is key to helping get more Americans vaccinated and the hope is that this app can help.
“I think that a lot of what this is about is creating that notion of, ‘Hey, I could know someone like that, so when you see a young child who is 17, you know a kid, getting a scholarship, they can get a full education they probably couldn’t have gotten otherwise,” Kaufman said.