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South Thomaston offers $200 to anyone who gets the COVID-19 vaccine

Offer applies to residents, workers and even tourists
Maine town offering incentive for vaccine
Maine town offering incentive for vaccine
Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 9:19 PM EDT
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SOUTH THOMASTON, Maine (WMTW) - To encourage Mainers to get the COVID-19 vaccine, the state offered a million-dollar lottery, free passes to state parks and tickets to Sea Dogs baseball games. Now the town of South Thomaston is offering cash to anyone who gets the shot.

The small, mid-coast town has a population of about 1,600. They already have a very high vaccination rate of 78%.

Town officials have decided to use federal grant money from President Biden’s “American Rescue Plan” to pay residents and even visitors even $200 to get a Covid-19 vaccine.

“Okay, whatever it takes. That’s what I think and it’s too bad that’s what they got to do, but we got to do it,” said Ken Wexler of Owls Head.

Selectmen say the incentives work and even if they persuade just a few people, that’s good enough.

“To me, job one is to prevent, mitigate and minimize the disease,” said South Thomaston Selectman Walter Reitz. “From my standpoint, any action that contributes to that early on is the right priority.”

The eligibility requirements are very loose and that’s on purpose. Townspeople, people who visit the town, people who work there, even if you’re coming for a week’s vacation.

If you get your first shot between now and Sept. 12, you’ll get the $200 after your second shot.

“I think the younger population is more likely to embrace the $200 because if you’re 16, there’s a lot you can do with $200,” Reitz said.

“Maybe the $200 might push them over. Go for it. Get vaccinated.” said Anne Brown who was visiting from Ohio.

Town selectmen feel like this is their way of trying to keep their community safe and they’re hoping that other cities and towns will do the same.

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