From doughnuts to cash to … pot? Incentives rise as vaccination rates slide

Paul Peterson takes advantage of the Snax for Vaxx offer of a free edible and pre-rolled joint. Mint partnered with Commerce Medical Group to provide vaccinations at its Arizona locations as vaccination rates slow across the nation. /Photo by Alberto Mariani/Cronkite News

By Mikenzie Hammel | Cronkite News

MESA – On a recent weekday morning, Paul Petersen of Florence was one of the first to arrive at Mint Dispensary to get something not usually offered at the cannabis shop: a free COVID-19 vaccine.

The 40-year-old had been holding off on getting vaccinated to see how others responded but was persuaded by an added perk: Mint’s Snax for Vaxx event. Mint gave away one free edible and a pre-rolled joint to anyone 21 or older receiving a Moderna vaccine.

Petersen said he took advantage of the opportunity to acquire “two things at once.”

“I’m comfortable with it now,” he said of the vaccination process, “but I didn’t trust the science before.”

With COVID-19 vaccination rates declining in Arizona and other states, public and private entities are using incentives to reverse the trend and get more shots into more arms.

From free doughnuts at Krispy Kreme shops to cold, hard cash from the state of California, individuals stepping up to get pricked can be rewarded in myriad ways.

In Arizona, Mint joined with Commerce Medical Group to provide vaccinations at pop-up clinics June 1 through 3 at its locations in Mesa, Tempe and Phoenix. Forty doses were brought to each location, and about two-thirds were distributed, said Kristy Jozwiak, a spokesperson for Mint.

Linzy Volm, a medical assistant for Commerce Medical Group who helped at the Mesa location, said more people turned up than she’d expected

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