City of Benicia giving free pizza to young people getting their COVID-19 vaccines

BENICIA, Calif. (KGO) -- The city of Benicia is trying a new tactic to convince people to get the COVID-19 vaccine. They are offering young people their choice of a free pizza if they get vaccinated.

"This is a grant through our city economic development office partnering with five pizzerias. We asked the pizza places to pass out flyers to get out the word of this event," said Maurio Giuliani, Benicia's Deputy City Manager.

It worked.

"We were very excited to see the sharing on social media," Giuliani said. "The pizza flier got more attention than the basic 'we have the vaccine' flier."

RELATED: Got vaccinated? Here's all the free stuff you can get

City officials realized they needed to get creative when they first opened up appointments to 16 to 24-year-olds and only 10 people signed up.

As of Wednesday morning, that number jumped significantly.

"It is at 150 right now," Giuliani said. "We had less than 10 after the first nearly 48 hours, so we know their grabbed attention and got folks to register because of it."

RELATED: Half of US adults now have received at least 1 COVID shot

17-year-old Harjot Saini admitted the promotion worked on her. Her family is all vaccinated, her dad is a doctor, but she still wasn't motivated to get the vaccine -- Until she heard about pizza.

"I think half of my decision was based on the pizza if I am being honest," she said, laughing, after getting the shot Wednesday.

City employee Teri Davena had the fun job Wednesday of asking young people which restaurant they wanted to go to for pizza.

"When they come back in two weeks for their second dose, we will have a $25 gift card waiting for them to thank them for getting their vaccine," Davena said.

RELATED: 'You have power': US surgeon general shares compelling message about vaccine hesitancy

City officials say reaching this segment of the population is important so the county can reopen its businesses.

"Solano County is the only county still in the red tier and part of the reason is our young people," Giuliani said, referring to the case numbers the county health department is tracking.

City officials also plan to take the vaccines to the high school.




Having trouble loading the tracker above? Click here to open it in a new window.

RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.