America, Butler County fail to reach Biden’s vaccination goal


Oxford Observer file photo

As of this week, fewer than 44% of Butler County residents eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations have gotten the shots.

By Stella Beerman

On March 11, President Biden released a statement, hoping to have 70% of American adults vaccinated by July 4. At a press release on Tuesday, The White House said it was expecting to fall short of that goal with only 45% vaccinated as of June 22. 

As the White House continues its efforts to get America to 70%, Ohio is still sitting below 50% with Butler County at 44%, according to the Ohio Health Department dashboard.  

To encourage Butler County to get vaccinated, city council approved a resolution prepared and presented by Assistant City Manager Jessica Greene in May, allowing $11,443 of remaining federal CARES Act funding to be used towards the utilization of mobile vaccine clinics and gift card incentives. 

The idea falls within the category of “vaccine incentives” that have popped up all over the U.S in recent months. The state of Ohio sponsored a similar campaign called “Vax-a-million,” a vaccine lottery with five, $1 million prizes for Ohio residents 18 and older and five full-ride scholarships for residents ages 12-17. 

I got the idea of the incentives from listening to what other communities and states were doing and then reading about how cash incentives were successful in getting the vaccine-hesitant to take the step and get vaccinated,” Greene said. 

Aside from $50 Visa gift cards, the resolution also approved the use of mobile vaccine clinics to make the vaccine more accessible. These clinics run on the weekends and evenings to accommodate around the typical 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday schedule. 

“One of my top goals is to help get our community vaccinated,” Greene said. “We want to remove any barriers that we can and help get residents vaccinated.” 

Butler County has created its own efforts to get residents vaccinated, including free transportation to get the vaccine, listing vaccine providers and connecting individuals with COVID-19 Educational Specialists. 

Despite incentivizing the community, the dashboard shows trends are not moving in favor of the White House’s goals. The number of individuals getting vaccinated in Butler County is declining each day. At its peak in March, over 3,000 people were getting the shot daily. This month, that number is less than 400 a day, even less than May, before the incentive programs began. 

Butler County’s vaccine rate is declining, just as the CDC confirms the presence of the Delta variant, a mutation that spreads easier with more severe symptoms than other variants, in Ohio. As of now, the Delta variant makes up less than 5% of known cases, but the Ohio Health Department estimates that number is rising, as cases rise around the U.S.