Gerald Gray, of Jefferson City, was among the early arrivals at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic outside the Boys & Girls Club of Jefferson City late Wednesday afternoon.
The widely advertised event had incentives for people to receive vaccinations.
Three people who received COVID-19 vaccinations at the club will each receive an Xbox game console.
Each person who received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the clinic is eligible to win.
The console was a secondary consideration for Gray, whose entire family, except his youngest child, had gotten the respiratory virus about six weeks ago.
Gray said he’d done a great deal of research on the vaccines, but had remained hesitant to receive one because he was concerned about long-term effects. However, the coronavirus had been hard on him. He spent a few hours in an emergency room.
Having a choice at Wednesday’s clinic, he went with the Pfizer vaccine, which requires a second dose in four weeks.
“It was the first one out. When it first came out, the potency was higher,” Gray said.
He added he worried vaccine manufacturers Johnson & Johnson and Moderna may have rushed to catch up.
“I had to do the research. I wasn’t for the shot,” he said. “Not too many things put me down in my life. This COVID put me down. It knocked me down.”
Gray said he felt like he’d been gambling with his — and his family’s — health by not getting the vaccination.
“I’m not going to gamble anymore,” he continued. “I had it, and by the grace of God, I made it through it.”
Only a few people showed up for the event in the parking lot of the club.
Names will be drawn and winners announced no later than Oct. 8, sometime after the consoles arrive from the national nonprofit’s home offices.
Vaccinations were available to anyone 12 or older. Parents’ or guardians’ permission was required for children under 18 to receive the vaccinations. The clinic was done in coordination with the Community Health Center of Central Missouri. The center provided its mobile examination room and a medical assistant who administered the shots.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America has partnered with Microsoft for 20 years. More information about the partnership and the program is available at bgca.org.
“Microsoft has donated more than $150 million in software, club services, Xbox consoles, Minecraft facemasks, COVID-19 relief, vaccination support, cash grants and employee time to Boys & Girls Clubs of America and local clubs to ensure our youth are safe and future-ready,” the national club’s website says. “This support has helped build club technology centers nationwide, allowed Boys & Girls Clubs of America to develop a suite of computer science programs that build in skill level and supported the launch of the My.Future
Youth may earn digital badges and recognition through My Future, which uses educational resources to teach children basic computational thinking, advanced coding, game design and application development.
The company donated 1,725 consoles to hard-hit communities this summer, helping drive awareness of and education about vaccinations.
Wade Middaugh, the club’s chief executive officer, said he wasn’t concerned about the low turnout. Even if only one person received a vaccination, it was another small step toward herd immunity.
“We made sure we really advertised this to our parents. We threw in the enticement of Xboxes to be given away,” Middaugh said. “We figured that we’ll see who rolls up.”