COVID-19 vaccine summer card incentive pays off; Pilot program expanding to more ENC counties

North Carolina

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is expanding the number of locations providing $25 Summer Cards to offset the time and transportation costs of getting vaccinated. Beginning this week, participating vaccination sites in 38 counties will offer the cards to anyone 18 and older who gets their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine — or drives someone to their vaccination.

The expansion builds on the success of the pilot program launched in May in four counties (Mecklenburg, Guilford, Rowan, and Rockingham), which distributed 1,700 Summer Cards to vaccine recipients and more than 700 cards to drivers. More than 40% of people surveyed at pilot locations said having someone to drive them was a very important reason they got vaccinated at a Summer Card event, and a quarter of people surveyed said the Summer Card was a very important motivation for getting vaccinated that day.

“Some people need help covering the cost of taking time away from work and for transportation, and the Summer Cards are one way to help. What’s really exciting is that we saw some people who received their first dose at a Summer Card event then drove others to help them get their vaccine,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.

“During the Summer Card pilot program, vaccine providers reported that the demand for vaccinations increased after they started participating in the program,” said Dr. Deepak Kumar, North Carolina Central University’s Advanced Center for COVID-19 Related Disparities. “The results show that the program is helping to reach the most vulnerable of our communities.”

Getting a vaccine is the best way for people to protect themselves from COVID-19. Rigorous clinical trials among thousands of people ages 12 and up have proven the vaccines are safe and effective against all circulating variants. More than 140 million Americans have now been safely vaccinated and protected from serious illness and virus-related hospitalization and death. 

There is increasing urgency for people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as the more dangerous new Delta variant is rapidly spreading in the United States, including in North Carolina. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classified the Delta variant as a “variant of concern” because it spreads faster than current COVID-19 variants. Early studies from the United Kingdom have also shown a possible increased risk of hospitalization in people infected with the Delta variant. The currently available COVID-19 vaccines are the best protection against the virus and its variants

The $25 Summer Card program is available at participating vaccination sites in the following counties: Alleghany, Ashe, Beaufort, Bertie, Buncombe, Caswell, Cleveland, Cumberland, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gaston, Greene, Guilford, Harnett, Hertford, Jackson, Johnston, Lee, Lenoir, Madison, McDowell, Mecklenburg, Mitchell, New Hanover, Orange, Pamlico, Pender, Person, Pitt, Robeson, Rockingham, Rowan, Rutherford, Stanly, Wake, Watauga, Wayne, and Wilson. Those interested in the program can visit or call 888-675-4567 to find a participating location.

The Summer Card is just one of a few incentives offered this summer. The Summer Cash and Cash 4 College drawings are another way North Carolinians who get vaccinated are rewarded. Learn more about the Summer Card and Summer Cash Drawings at

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