The Pennyroyal Arts Council is best known for managing Hopkinsville’s historic Alhambra Theatre and providing cultural events for the community.
But this week, the organization stretched its mission a bit to help support local health officials as they try to convince more residents to get a COVID-19 vaccine. The effort comes after a recent slump in the number of people claiming open vaccine times from the health department along with reporting from a federal agency that indicates Christian County lags the rest of the state in the share of people who are fully vaccinated.
- Health department schedules mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics
- Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause affects local COVID-19 response
- CDC data show Christian County among worst in Kentucky for vaccine rates
The campaign to improve the county’s vaccination rate is a grassroots effort based on creative expression, said arts council marketing director Becky Green.
“They wanted us to think of a creative way to unite the community,” she said, adding that people have historically turned to the arts for creative expression during challenging times.
That was the spark for the arts council to join the city of Hopkinsville and the Christian County Health Department in a social media campaign called Get a Shot, Take a Shot.
Between now and May 10, anyone who posts a selfie photo with the hashtag #VaccinateHoptown after receiving a vaccine shot will be entered into a contest that might earn them four season passes to the Tie Breaker Family Aquatic Center.
The names of five people who posted their selfie with the hashtag to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter will be drawn on May 10 and given a chance to make a half-court basketball shot at the Planters Bank-Jennie Stuart Health Sportsplex on May 22. The prize for a winning shot is the four aquatic center passes.
The organizers will even allow the players to bring in a ringer. In other words, if your name is drawn and you don’t have much faith in your shot, you can designate someone else to shoot for you.
To encourage more people to get involved, selfie backdrops have been installed at the James E. Bruce Convention Center, the site of the health department’s regional vaccine clinic.
Inspiration boards are also up so residents can write messages on Post-It notes and share why they got vaccinated.
Green said that while many people have already been sharing their stories and photos on social media, the Get a Shot, Take a Shot campaign will bring the message under one digital umbrella so more people are thinking about getting the vaccine.
She said organizers hope to make the campaign a tool for civic pride and encouragement, similar to the way people post selfies when they have voted.
Health officials estimate that at least 70% of people living in a region need to be vaccinated for the area to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Christian County lags most in Kentucky for the share of residents who are fully vaccinated. As of Wednesday, April 14, the CDC COVID Data Tracker showed 11.5% of the county’s total population was fully vaccinated. By age groups, the rates were 15.8% for people 18 and older, and 47.3% for people 65 and older.
The county was second to last among the state’s 120 counties for both total population and adults fully vaccinated. It was 94th for senior citizens fully vaccinated.
It is possible that some Christian County residents were not counted in the vaccine data, as Hoptown Chronicle previously reported.
The regional vaccine site at the Bruce Center is open Tuesdays and Thursdays. Appointments can be scheduled online or by calling the health department at 270-887-4160, ext. 640. The health department is also providing some mobile vaccine clinics in April.