With demand for COVID booster shots well below expectations, would you get the extra jab for $20?

East Orange is offering incentives with the hopes of encouraging more fully vaccinated residents to return for the booster dose. Those 18 and older can choose from a $20 Walmart gift card or a turkey or ham as a reward for getting the shot.

City officials are also offering a $50 Amazon gift card or full holiday meal boxes for those coming in for first or second doses of the COVID vaccine.

East Orange is located in Essex County, where the number of positive COVID tests have increased 24% over the last week, according to the CDC data tracker website. Essex is listed as having a "significant risk of community transmission."

Mayor Ted Green says the city is offering the incentives to ensure families can have safe gatherings this holiday season.

New Jersey's overall COVID metrics have been moving in the wrong direction of Thanksgiving. The rate of transmission has spiked to 1.15 and shows an active expansion of the virus again. Hospitalizations have also risen above 700.

A number of New Jersey municipalities offered incentives when vaccines against coronavirus were first released nearly a year ago in an effort to get the state to a goal of 70% fully vaccinated adults.

While New Jersey met, and exceeded, that number and has one of the highest vaccination rates in the nation, demand for the booster dose has been low. According to state health officials, only about 24% of those who completed the first round of inoculations have returned for the additional dose.

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