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COVID vaccines: Safe, effective, convenient, and could make you a millionaire

The summer months have arrived along with a bustling Main Avenue, and many of the traditions that make this a great time of year in Southwest Colorado – school graduations, the Iron Horse, Animas River Days and more.

Thanks to the commitment and hard work of residents, businesses, schools, volunteers and local public health to limit the spread of COVID-19, we are well-positioned as a community to enjoy a more vibrant summer than last year. Many signs point to lower case counts, rising vaccination rates and a strong recovery for local businesses. Here in Southwest Colorado and across the country, “Get Vaccinated” has joined “Shop Local” as the most important mantra for helping our businesses thrive and keeping our community healthy.

Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is a win for everyone. It keeps you safe, keeps the community healthy and will help our businesses bounce back stronger than ever. In the spirit of partnership, and to help motivate more of our community to get vaccinated, San Juan Basin Public Health is excited to team up with the Durango Business Improvement District to provide “Our Shot Rewards” for people who have yet to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The Our Shot Rewards coupons include free and discounted items at local businesses with a total value of about $80. All residents receiving a first dose of vaccine (of any vaccine type) will receive the coupon sheet at SJBPH vaccine clinics in La Plata County.

The local business community has been tremendously supportive and resilient throughout the pandemic, and SJBPH thanks BID and these businesses for participating in Our Shot Rewards to help increase our vaccination rate:

Animas Trading Co.

Cream Bean Berry

Eolus Bar and Dining

Father’s Daughter Pizza

Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory

Get Fused

Lazy One

Pine Needle Mountaineering & Pine Needle Dry Goods

Rose Duds

Twilight Toys

The Our Shot Rewards promotion is happening now while supplies last, and it comes on the heels of a similar partnership with Ska Brewing Co. that is now completed. SJBPH also thanks Ska Brewing for its generous support.

In Archuleta County, SJBPH has launched another vaccine promotion, “Vaxx for Scratch” for residents receiving a vaccine at SJBPH clinics. Any resident age 18 or older who receives COVID-19 vaccination at a SJBPH clinic in Archuleta County will now be offered a free Scratch ticket worth $10 while supplies last. The Scratch tickets have a top prize of up to $500,000. The Vaxx for Scratch tickets were purchased from the Colorado Lottery using private donations. Proceeds from the Colorado Lottery go to Great Outdoors Colorado, the Conservation Trust Fund, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and the Colorado Department of Education.

In addition to these fun local offers, the state of Colorado is also putting some big money on the table for anyone who has already been vaccinated or gets it done in the coming days. All residents aged 18 and older who have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine will be entered into the state’s “Colorado Comeback Cash” million-dollar prize drawings that will award five Coloradans $1 million each, through July 2. SJBPH is rooting for someone in our community to win one of the million-dollar prizes!

While these offers certainly are fun, the real prize for vaccination is protecting the health and safety of our community and turning the corner on the pandemic. And to be clear, we are not out of the woods yet. Local public health advisories (recommendations) are still in effect for indoor mask-wearing and 6-foot distancing, and we strongly urge residents and businesses to follow these advisories, especially with more severe variants spreading in our community.

If you have been procrastinating getting your COVID-19 vaccine, we hope these offers will motivate you to find a provider on the SJBPH website and get it done right away. Whether you do it to protect yourself, your family, take advantage of the offers or just to have the healthiest summer possible (or all of the above), we hope you will step up and find a convenient vaccine clinic near you. And if you have questions about these safe and effective vaccines, we are happy to answer those, too.

More information about the COVID-19 vaccines and where to get them is available on our website (https://sjbpublichealth.org/covid-19-vaccine/) or by calling SJBPH at 247-5702.

Liane Jollon is executive director of San Juan Basin Public Health.