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The Offer Of Free Beer May Help Lagging Vaccination Rate

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Like many parts of the country, Erie County, N.Y., had gotten kind of stuck in a rut with vaccinations. Appointments at many Buffalo-area clinics were lagging.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Until, as The Buffalo News writes, they said the magic words - free beer.

JEFF WARE: You give people a beer, they tend to show up.

MARTIN: That's Jeff Ware. He owns Resurgence, a local microbrewery. And over the weekend, there was a line out the door to get vaccinated next to his towering metal fermentation tanks. It was the first vaccine-for-beer pop-up in the county's aptly named Shot and Chaser program.

INSKEEP: The idea here is you get the shot and you get a free beer. That's the whole deal. Here's Erie County executive Mark Poloncarz.

MARK POLONCARZ: We decided it just makes sense to go where the people are. We got 10 times more people to get vaccinated with their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in just a few hours at a brewery than we would have if we had been sitting in one of our full-time clinics for 12 hours.

INSKEEP: He says their other vaccination sites averaged just a handful of appointments per day recently, but at Resurgence this weekend, they did around 150.

MARTIN: More Buffalo-area breweries will offer the promotion soon. Jeff Ware says the beer scene has plenty of reason to support the county's vaccination efforts.

WARE: We're anxious, you know, to get back to banquets and parties and a full taproom in a very safe manner as we can. But I think the light is at the end of the tunnel here.

INSKEEP: Let's raise a glass to that, even though it is kind of early.

(SOUNDBITE OF DINOSAUR JR.'S "ALMOST FARE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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