COVID-19 vaccinations are available in Havre, Montana, but infections are still rising. To boost the local vaccination numbers, Gary & Leo’s Fresh Foods is offering an incentive to those who come in for a one-and-done Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccine. Customers of Gary & Leo’s Pharmacy who receive a COVID-19 vaccine can enter to win a $100 gift card, with the drawing set for August 2.
"We always want to reward customers who shop with us, and we’re dedicated to the safety of our community,” said Laura Malisani, who owns the store with her husband John.
Lots of small businesses are making similar moves, coinciding with new tax credits offered to small businesses who provide paid time off to get vaccinated and recover from the shot's potential side effects.
But with residents of Havre, Montana, a small town of less than 10,000 folks, vaccine hesitant, what's a local pharmacy to do? Gary & Leo's sends a reminder message each week on the store's social media account, reminding followers that they can get vaccinated and then enter to win the $100 gift card drawing.
“We understood that there is a low percentage of adults vaccinated in Hill County, and we’re trying to encourage that number to climb,” Gary & Leo’s Manager Tracy Job told The Havre Daily News.
And while the social media promotions get a couple of likes and private shares, the customer response to the promotion is not breaking the door down. But as Malisani noted, it’s not the store’s job to offer incentives, only to offer a convenient vaccination option.
“Gary & Leo's pharmacists are dedicated to helping our employees and customers make educated decisions about their health based on science and their physician's recommendation. They answer questions based on individuals’ health and concerns,” Malisani said. “The drawing—a customer suggestion—is to motivate people who have not yet made time to prioritize their health, to come in and ask questions, and take action if appropriate. Some customers have incorrect assumptions based on the internet.”
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