Vaccine incentive numbers show good participation rate

Nancy Abdo, left, helps someone register for the COVID-19 vaccine incentive in C-135 on Sept. 9. Photo by Vera DeJohnette/The Et Cetera

Nancy Abdo, left, helps someone register for the COVID-19 vaccine incentive in C-135 on Sept. 9. Photo by Vera DeJohnette/The Et Cetera

BY HARRIET RAMOS, Editor in Chief

Over 6,000 students and 3,000 employees have submitted for the vaccine incentive that become available Aug. 30.

“Our aim is ultimately to save lives through this financial incentive,” Alex Lyda, senior director of communications, said. “Early participation numbers suggest we have taken a big step in the right direction.”

The incentive will last until Nov. 15 and consists of $200 for fully vaccinated students and $500 for fully vaccinated employees.

English faculty Rufel Ramos said she has been fully vaccinated since April, and she sees the incentive as a reward for “doing the right thing.”

“It’s a great idea, indicating that Dallas College takes seriously the COVID-19 Delta variant surge by … putting your money where your mouth is,” Ramos said. 

Music faculty Oscar Passley said he hopes everyone will take advantage of the incentive.

I think the vaccine incentive shows that Dallas College is committed to the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff,” Passley said. “I believe the college and community will all be better off because of it.”

Alyssa Garcia, 22, who is working toward an associate of applied science degree, said she was vaccinated previously and plans to take advantage of the $200 incentive. 

Garcia said she is happy about the money but concerned some people will think it is suspicious that Dallas College is using money to motivate students to get the vaccine. 

“Honestly, it’s kind of conflicting,” Garcia said. “Because you want to follow the health guidelines and get vaccinated, but at the same time, it’s like they’re pushing for everybody to do it.”

Marco Lopez, 23, a biomedical engineering major, said he got vaccinated as soon as it became available for his age bracket.

“If it encourages a lot more people to get it, it’s a great thing,” he said. 

[READ MORE: Dallas College to offer cash for vaccination]

Allante Jackson, 18, an incoming freshman and a business and science major, said the incentive is a win-win situation for people who have been vaccinated. However, he doesn’t plan on getting vaccinated any time soon and said $200 isn’t enough to motivate him to get the vaccine.  

He said he is worried about side effects from the vaccine and has decided to just wear a mask and continue keeping his distance from people.

When asked what he would do if the amount of the incentive was higher, he said he might see the vaccine in a more positive light. 

“Definitely would make me think about it more,” he said. “$500 maybe, but then you’ve got to think about all the people that they’re trying to get to get it; financially that probably wouldn’t be possible. $200 is probably the most they can do.”

Welcome assistant Payton Robertson said the incentive is good motivation for her to get vaccinated. 

“I was going to do it regardless,” Robertson said. “But obviously, money is nice.”

Incoming freshman Emely Castillo,18, said she thinks the vaccine is the best way to protect herself and others. She said she feels safer coming on campus knowing that students are being encouraged to get the vaccine. She’s been fully vaccinated since June.

“I definitely feel like it’s a great way to convince people to do it,” she said of the incentive. “Who doesn’t want free money? … It’s a great way to keep everybody safe.”

[READ MORE: Dallas College employees return to campus, vaccines available for all Texas adults]

In addition to the incentive, Dallas College is offering vaccine clinics on all Dallas College campuses so students can get vaccinated during the course of their normal school day. The vaccine clinic will be at Eastfield every Wednesday and Thursday from 8:30-11:45 a.m. until Nov. 15.

Chancellor Joe May said in a press release that the college wants to make the vaccines as attractive and accessible as possible.

“Broadening vaccine incentives to our students, who can get vaccinated on campus during the normal course of their day and quickly collect their incentives will help make our campus environments safer for the in-person learning that was made practically impossible early in the pandemic,” May said.

Nancy Abdo, senior manager of Eastfield’s Health Center, said there will be staff at each clinic to help students submit proof of vaccination to receive the incentive. Students who have already been vaccinated can submit proof of vaccination at the clinic too.

Abdo or one of the other staff looks at the student’s COVID-19 vaccination card and verifies it in the system. Once the card is verified, the student can go immediately to the business office and collect the incentive in cash. 

Abdo said students can also create an account and upload their vaccine card at MedProctor.com. Once their vaccination is verified, students will get an email with instructions on how to obtain their incentive.

Employees should submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination through the Med+Proctor portal, available via My Apps in SharePoint. They will receive their incentive in their next paycheck. 

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