Hurst holds vaccine incentive program

Hannah Brooks, Staff writer

This past summer, Mercyhurst University offered a vaccine incentive program, also known as #ImmunityCommunity giveaways. This program was a combined effort which included collaboration between the COVID-19 Response Team, the Campus Involvement Center, and Marketing. All students who turned in COVID-19 vaccination documentation by the deadline of August 1st, 2021 were automatically entered into weekly drawings and grand prize giveaways. The ultimate goal of the program was to raise awareness to the benefits of vaccination and Mercyhurst’s new COVID-19 vaccination policy, and also show how the vaccination rate could play a role in going back to “normal” for the fall.

Awareness was raised mainly through social media presence, which included videos from current students talking about why they are getting vaccinated and what prizes they hope to win, photos of students who won prizes, and reminders for students to submit documentation so they can win prizes. Many exciting prizes that were offered through this program this past summer, including SpringFest backstage passes, personalized hockey jerseys, $100 gift cards to the Mercyhurst bookstore, parking passes, $25 gift cards to Cornerstone Bar & Grill, $15 gift cards to Tim Horton’s, and Mercyhurst T-Shirt prize packs.

There were a total of forty one randomly selected winners for prizes. One of the many winners includes Austin Baroana, who was the winner of a personalized jersey from the incentive program. All of the prizes offered were exciting and served as an added incentive for students who decided to get the COVID-19 vaccination.

Currently, 87.1% of Mercyhurst students have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccination, and 86.3% of students are fully vaccinated. These percentages continue to climb throughout the semester, however. For the most up-to-date information on vaccination rates, students can go to

According to Dr. Laura Zirkle and Kyndra Zacherl, the Immunity Community vaccination incentive program seemed to help motivate students to get vaccinated, as well as to submit their documentation as soon as possible if they had already been vaccinated. Additionally, the incentive program also helped engage students across social media platforms through Facebook profile picture frames as well as email signatures which promoted vaccination.

“We heard feedback from a number of students that they had done so because of the prize, in addition to wanting as close to a return to normal as they could get,” says Zacherl.

“We saw engagement with different aspects of the campaign from both students and employees that included Facebook frames, social media hashtags and posts, and email signature graphics,” adds Zacherl.

The CDC fully recommends getting vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. Anybody over the age of 12 is eligible to receive the vaccination. The vaccine will not only help to protect individuals from becoming ill, it will help to protect others and build an immunity against the virus. For the most up-to-date information on vaccines, visit the CDC website at

If you are interested in getting vaccinated, it is to be noted that the vaccine is offered in many convenient locations, such as drug stores such as CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid; as well as grocery stores such as Giant Eagle and Walmart pharmacy; as well as most doctor’s offices and healthcare facilities. If you choose to get vaccinated, please be sure to call the facility beforehand to check for availability and consider talking to your doctor as well.