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River Rat Brewery takes part in SC effort offering free beer to get COVID-19 vaccine

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Shot and a Chaser campaign imagery.

Shot and a Chaser.

That’s the title — and the gist — of a new COVID-19 vaccination campaign from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and the South Carolina Brewers Guild. The effort offers the opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and an accompanying free beer or soda at Palmetto State breweries.

19 breweries across the state are participating between June 10 and 25. In Columbia, participants can head to River Rat Brewery on June 11 from 3 to 7 p.m., with the the one-shot Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) and two-shot Moderna vaccines available.

The events were announced in a DHEC press release on June 3, which detailed that the effort is meant to increase vaccination rates for South Carolinians 20 to 24. The release detailed that this age group was the least vaccinated group in the state, making up less than 1% of all vaccinated individuals.

Edward Simmer, DHEC’s director, was quoted in the release, noting that the members of this age group are “busy travelers and incredibly social.”

“We want to make sure they get their shot to protect themselves and others."

The process for the campaign is relatively simple. Participants go, get a shot, are monitored for 15 minutes afterward, and then they get a free drink. No proof of health insurance is required either.

“Brewers across South Carolina are committed to healthy communities,” Brook Bristow, executive director of the South Carolina Brewers Guild, is quoted in the release. “As small, locally-minded businesses, our citizens are our most valuable asset. If they aren’t healthy, then we can’t be either. We’re excited to partner with DHEC to expand vaccine access across the state at many of our member breweries as a part of this program.”

The shot and chaser campaign is joins a handful of efforts to incentivize vaccination. Recently, Five Points' Drip Coffee started a vaccination lottery of sorts, where customers can show their vaccination card to be entered for a chance to win one free cup of coffee everyday for a year. The Columbia Fireflies also hosted a vaccination clinic at recent games, and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is offering a free donut to those that show a vaccine card.

As of June 1, 44.9 percent of South Carolina residents have received at least one vaccine shot, and 37.1 percent of the state is completely vaccinated, according to DHEC data.

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