As a pediatrician and the Surgeon General of California, one of my key responsibilities is to take science and translate it into simple recommendations to keep Californians healthy. This has and continues to be critical as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 64 percent of Californians are fully vaccinated, which is promising. But to stop this virus from spreading and mutating, those who are eligible must do their part to get vaccinated. All three available COVID-19 vaccines are proven safe and highly effective at protecting us from this deadly virus that has taken the lives of more than 64,000 Californians.
To provide additional motivation to get vaccinated, the state has created the Vax for the Win incentive program. As part of this program, if you started your vaccination between May 27 and July 18 in California, you are eligible to receive a $50 incentive card as a “thank you” from the state. Those eligible will be able to choose either a $50 prepaid card, which can be spent online and in stores where major debit cards are accepted, or a $50 grocery card to use at Kroger (Ralphs, Food 4 Less, Foods Co.) or Albertsons (Safeway, Vons, Albertsons, Pavilions, Andronico’s) supermarkets.
In order to put an extra $50 back in your pocket, you must take a minute to redeem your incentive card! Redemption codes are automatically sent out via text or email 7-10 days after you finish your vaccination, but you only have 90 days to redeem and pick your reward before the code expires. To redeem: copy the redemption code, visit www.youcalltheshotca.com, enter your code, and click “submit.” It’s that easy. But you need to do it now to make sure you don’t miss your chance!
To date, California’s Vax for the Win program has helped us reach one of the highest vaccination rates in the country – with approximately 75 percent of the state’s eligible population at least partially vaccinated. But we aren’t out of the woods yet. As the highly infectious delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread, Californians who are unvaccinated remain vulnerable to serious illness and death. If you haven’t yet been vaccinated, I urge you to visit www.myturn.ca.gov to schedule an appointment or find a walk-in clinic. COVID-19 vaccines are safe, free, and the most effective way to protect you and your loved ones. If you have questions or concerns, talk to your health care provider where you will receive the most up-to-date and reliable information about COVID-19 vaccines. Let’s reach community immunity and put this pandemic behind us.
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris is the first Surgeon General of California.