North Texas has kicked into high gear in efforts to get more people vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
Earlier this month, the Dallas Regional Chamber (DRC) announced a vaccine sweepstakes campaign that will, if successful, incentivize an additional 600,000 members of the North Texan populations to get vaccinated.
Latosha Herron-Buff, senior vice president of community engagement at the DRC, said that the idea for the “Take Care of Business” vaccine campaign has been brewing for months.
“In the midst of the pandemic, the DRC recognized that we had a responsibility to help our community get back to life as quickly as possible,” Herron-Buff told Dallas Express.
The VP explained that communities of color in North Texas have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, with Hispanic Texans accounting for 40% of the state’s population and over half of the reported COVID cases, yet only a third of vaccinations to date.
Similarly, the Lone Star State’s black population counts for 12% of its 29 million residents, but 15% of COVID cases and 8% of vaccinations to date.
“The campaign is focusing on communities of color so every business in our region can thrive once again,” Herron-Buff stated.
DRC believes the campaign will help local businesses thrive again because North Texas is at the cusp of herd immunity. According to Herron-Buff, the northern half of the state is currently 60% vaccinated, and it would just take 10% more to follow suit in order for herd immunity to be declared and get the economy’s wheels turning again.
“The sooner we reach the 70% threshold, the sooner North Texas can fully recover. While it may seem like Texas has reopened, the local economy still has not fully recovered,” she said. “To get us to recovery and beyond, it is important North Texans get vaccinated to ensure the employees, owners, and patrons of the local businesses we know and love—your barber, your local coffee shop or restaurant—are able to conduct business in a safe and healthy way now and in the future.”
Earlier this month, Gov. Greg Abbott stated his disbelief in using prizes and incentives to encourage COVID-19 vaccination in an interview with NBC DFW. The DRC said that North Texas businesses will not be able to again reach their full potential without more people receiving the vaccine.
“[…] We are proud to work with local businesses in our region to supply North Texans with the information, resources, and incentives they need in order to decide to get vaccinated,” Herron-Buff said.
Sponsored by the DRC members and area businesses, the program will offer motivation to get the vaccine that includes Cowboy tickets, FC Dallas tickets, roundtrip airplane vouchers and more local entertainment venues, according to NBC DFW.
“We believe these prizes are at the appropriate level to incentivize people to consider vaccination,” Herron-Buff said.
The sweepstakes is available to residents of Dallas, Tarrant, Denton and Collin counties who are at least 16 years old. Any vaccination received by an eligible resident between June 9 and Aug. 31 are eligible to enter. More information on eligibility and entering is here.
Herron-Buff noted that while the DRC is encouraging North Texans to get vaccinated and providing resources to make doing so easier, the choice is still entirely up to the individual.
The VP encourages residents to read information about the vaccines from credible medical sources, including local health departments, North Texas medical experts and the Centers for Disease Control.
“We cannot make medical recommendations for individuals, but we do know that the ability for North Texas businesses to get back to work depends on more people getting vaccinated,” Herron-Buff said. “The more people get vaccinated, the more North Texans can get back to business.”