Notre Dame football ticket incentive leads hundreds in St Joe County to get their first vaccine dose

NOW: Notre Dame football ticket incentive leads hundreds in St Joe County to get their first vaccine dose

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame will be taking on Georgia Tech this weekend, and Irish fans should expect a packed stadium, as tickets for this game were given out to area residents who received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the clinic in the St. Joseph County-City building. 

Last month, Notre Dame announced, with the St. Joe County Health Department, their offer: two physical game-day tickets to either the Navy game or Georgia tech, for anyone who was willing to get their first dose of the vaccine. 

And the response has been positive. 

“We’ve distributed all of the tickets that were given to us, which means that several hundred people got their first dose of the vaccine, which is extremely exciting,” said Robin Vida, with the Health Department, though she says it will still be a few weeks before there will be any increase in the vaccination rate in the county. 

“The key here is that we measure ‘fully vaccinated,'” she said, meaning it could take an additional five weeks to see the numbers improve, waiting for people to get their second dose as well as waiting the two week period for the vaccine to take full effect.

But according to Vida, the incentive worked as intended-- making some people finally want to get vaccinated.  

"We see that, sometimes, that extra push or incentive makes people prioritize it more," she said. 

And some people who weren't even eligible for the program believed it was a smart idea:

“It’s a huge incentive," said William Reid. "That’s why you incentivize—rather than force people, incentivize them, that’s pretty good!”

Reid's son attends the University of Notre Dame, and his family came all the way down from Canada for the big game against Georgia Tech. Reid has already been vaccinated, and understands that some people are hesitant about getting the vaccine, but he believes that such a high profile offer is enough to get hesitant people to do their own research and make their own decision. 

Reid said “I understand that people have a choice and some people don’t want to, and that’s totally okay. That doesn’t bother me in the least. But if you’re on the fence and you’re thinking about it and you need a little push-  there’s a motive to giving an incentive. There’s a reason why you get vaccinated. There’s nothing per se that’s wrong with vaccinations, but I’ll leave that for everybody to decide on their own. It’s a way of publicizing and keeping it in the forefront of their mind.”

The university was not able to provide exactly how many tickets were provided for the incentive, but they did say that there was so much demand for the tickets, they had to resupply the county on two separate occasions. 

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