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ADPH kicks off Covid-19 vaccine incentive

The Alabama Department of Public Health hopes to get college football fans to team up against the coronavirus.

The ADPH on Thursday announced a partnership with Bruno Event Team to kick off football season with the Kick Covid-19 campaign. Bruno is a Birmingham-based industry leader in event management, particularly sporting events.

“The best college football in the nation is played right here in Alabama,” Gene Hallman, president and CEO of Bruno Event team, said. “Why not use that platform to get the message out to get the vaccine?”

Hallman said Bruno worked with 13 of the states FBS/FCS colleges — including Troy University — to create the Kick Covid-19 campaign. Hallman said there will be a promotional campaign for each university that targets both fans and students to encourage Covid vaccinations. He said student athletes from each university will also be feathered in campaigns encouraging people to get vaccinated.

One of the incentives to encourage students and fans to get vaccinated is a $75 gift card their university’s bookstore. Hallman said the Kick Covid-19 campaign will visit all 13 participating universities on game day between Sept. 6 and Oct. 9. He said students and fans will be able to get COVID-19 vaccinations and testing in prominent locations on game day. In order to get the $75 gift card, students and fans will have to get vaccinated at the game or submit forms to kickcovid19.com showing they were vaccinated within 14 days of the game.

State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said vaccination incentives in other states had met with limited success, but he believed the uniqueness of this campaign coupled with Alabamians’ love of football would be a great opportunity to encourage people to get vaccinated.

“I have concerns about incentives from what I’ve seen from other states,” Harris said. “You have to relate to people in a context they are familiar with. College football is very important to the people of Alabama. I thing that gives us an opportunity to make this a very successful program in Alabama.”

Hallman said he believed student athletes who were passionate about getting vaccinated could make a real difference in convincing people to get vaccinated.

“It’s a promotional campaign as much as it is a vaccination uptake program,” Hallman said. “When you have four or five high profile players and we’re using the university, social media and paid media to get their message out, I think that will have an unquantifiable benefit. I think there will be a lot of people that will get vaccinated someplace other than [a Kick Covid-19 site].”

Harris said he realized many people were cautious of the vaccines and there were a lot of myths about the vaccine being unsafe. Harris said they wanted to dispel those myths and this campaign would help.

“We feel all vaccines are safe and effective,” Harris said. “Just get vaccinated is the message we’re sending. We don’t care what product you use.”

Hallman said the vaccines administered by Kick Covid-19 would be two-state shots, meaning a second shot is needed to complete the vaccination. He said in many cases Kick Covid-19 would return to the sites where the first dose was administered about three to four weeks later in most cases. But, he said if the Kick Covid-19 caravan was unable to return in that time frame, people would be given an alternative site to get the second dose.

Harris said getting the second dose wouldn’t be a problem.

“It’s not like it was a few months ago,” Harris said. “We now have more than 1,400 sites where you can get any product. You can get a vaccination at multiple sites in every county in Alabama. We want people to get that first dose, then they can get the second one anywhere.”

For more on the Kick Covid 19 incentive program, visit KickCovid19.com.

Participating schools and dates

• Sept. 16 — University of West Alabama vs. North American University

• Sept. 18 — Jacksonville State University vs. University of North Alabama

• Sept. 18 — University of South Alabama vs. Alcorn State University

• Sept. 25 — Alabama State University vs. Bethune-Cookman University

• Sept. 25 — Auburn University vs. Georgia State University

• Sept. 25 — Miles College vs. Central State University

• Sept. 25 — Samford University vs. East Tennessee State University

• Sept. 25 — University of Alabama vs. University of Southern Mississippi

• Oct. 2 — Tuskegee University vs. Edward Waters College

• Oct. 2 — UAB vs. Liberty University

• Oct. 2 — University of North Alabama vs. Campbell University

• Oct. 9 — Alabama A&M University vs. Jackson State University

• Oct. 9 — Troy University vs. Liberty University

(All dates are subject to change)