ACL festival rewards free wristbands through vaccine incentive programs

Hope Unger, News Reporter

Austin City Limits music festival has awarded one-day wristbands to over 1,500 individuals who received the COVID-19 vaccine through a collaborative program between ACL, Q2 Stadium, Walgreens and VaxTogetherAustin.

Over 500 people were vaccinated at a Q2 event the weekend of Sep. 10 as part of the vaccine incentive program that started Aug. 27, said Sharon Cohan, founder and executive director of VaxTogetherAustin. To be eligible for a wristband, patients had to receive either their first or second Pfizer or Moderna shot or the Johnson & Johnson shot through an appointment with VaxTogetherAustin. The program is ongoing by appointment only, but wristbands are limited.

Cohan said the purpose of the incentive program is to reduce vaccine hesitancy and increase the vaccination rate in Central Texas.

“It seemed to appeal to a younger crowd,” Cohan said. “(The under 35 crowd) kind of took advantage of the promotion, and that’s great because there’s a hesitant population there that feel like they’re young and healthy and invincible and weren’t previously vaccinated. And this was kind of the thing that got them to say, okay, maybe it’s worth it.”

Biomedical engineering junior Brooke McArthur said she thought most of the people that got the wristband through the program were probably just in the process of getting vaccinated at the time, but she doesn’t think the program will convince young people who have already made the decision to be unvaccinated.

“The ideal demographic for ACL …  if they’re not vaccinated at this point, it’s because they don’t want to be,” McArthur said. “Wristbands aren’t necessarily going to get them to do it. I feel like it’s a bonus for people who are just still struggling to find time to get it and it happened to coincide with when they were doing this thing.”

Chelsea Rohrman, a medical laboratory sciences junior, said she is already vaccinated, but would have gotten vaccinated whether or not there was a concert ticket incentive. She said she understands if someone is in between doses and is able to get a free ticket through the program.

“We can always criticize people who have waited to get the vaccine, or who will get the vaccine if there’s a benefit to them,” Rohrman said. “But I think if someone was already planning to get the vaccine and then this opportunity just showed up I wouldn’t blame (them).”