Farmers market kicks off in downtown Wilkes-Barre with added incentive

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE 28/WYOU 22 EYEWITNESS NEWS) — A welcome site on Public Square one year after the pandemic forced a scaled-down version of the Wilkes-Barre Farmers Market.

A recent poll reveals one in five Americans will never get vaccinated against COVID-19 if they can avoid it.

Health officials decided to drop in on a local farmers market to encourage people to get the shot.

You might think a vaccine clinic where they sell fruits and veggies is rather odd. But organizers say it might be the perfect recipe to help push us toward herd immunity.

Fruits… veggies… and vaccine? You bet! A push by the Wilkes-Barre Health Department to get more people vaccinated came to Public Square on the opening day of the city’s 2021 farmers market.

To encourage folks like Daisy Lebron to get the shot? A free voucher to purchase fruits and veggies. Good for the market’s opening day.

“It’s an incentive, yeah, first thing I saw on the Facebook thing was a $15 voucher. Of course. It was an incentive,” Lebron said.

For months, she says she was hesitant to get vaccinated.

“I wanted to see everybody else’s reaction to the COVID vaccine,” she explained.

Research shows 21 percent of Americans will shun the shot if they can help it. But for those on the fence, organizers believe a little nudge like a voucher and convenience is all it takes.

“Obviously, we need as many people vaccinated as possible and we’ll do whatever we have to. If we have to come into the community which we have, we’ve done from the beginning,” said Henry Radulski, director of the Wilkes-Barre City Health Department.

Incentivizing the vaccination process in an attempt to conquer COVID once and for all.

“It’s not bad to get a vaccine because it’s going to save your life.” When asked, “and was the voucher just the push you needed to get vaccinated?” Wilkes-Barre resident Ed Karcheski says, “yes.”

“So, if we can make our community safer for you and your family, that’s what it’s all about,” Radulski explained.

And Radulski says it’s more than just consumers who get the vaccine who benefit. Those vouchers also help farmers who suffered through the pandemic.

The Wilkes-Barre City Health Department is also planning some sort of vaccine incentive for its Kirby Park 4th of July celebration. The health department hasn’t ruled out returning to the farmers market for another mobile vaccine clinic.

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