Vax to the Max offers gift cards for COVID-19 vaccinations | News

Journal Staff Tanya Manus

A new campaign launched this week, Vax to the Max Black Hills, offers financial incentives for Black Hills residents to get their COVID-19 shots and booster shots.

A person who receives both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine after Feb. 1 is eligible to receive a $100 gift card, and a person who receives a COVID-19 booster after Feb. 1 is eligible for a $100 gift card. $50. To qualify for a gift card, people can get their shots and boosters at any location or provider that administers them.

Vax to the Max Black Hills gift cards will be delivered at the Black Hills Area Community Foundation office, 803 St. Joseph St. in Rapid City, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, or at the Sturgis Public Library and at the Custer County Library during regular business hours. Gift cards will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. No appointment is necessary, but people must bring their photo ID and their completed vaccination record.

The Vax to the Max Black Hills campaign is made possible by a $16,000 donation from Dr. Roger and Janice Knutsen to the Black Hills Area Community Foundation.

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“COVID vaccination is your best way to avoid COVID-related illnesses and protect your family, friends and neighbors,” said Dr. Knutsen, a physician at Rapid City. “This vaccine technology, which has been researched for decades, does not alter your DNA or cause infertility. Rather, it naturally causes white blood cells to make antibodies that help fight this potentially deadly virus. . »

In addition to urging adults to get vaccinated and given a booster shot, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending that children 5 and older get the COVID-19 vaccine, and those 12 and older who are fully vaccinated receive a booster. With the Omicron variant becoming more prevalent, Dr. Knutsen said the boosters provide valuable additional defense against COVID-19.

“As physicians, we all want the best for our patients. Our goal is the well-being of our patients. COVID-19 is an emerging and potentially deadly disease,” Dr. Knutsen said. “The main reason people get vaccinated is to protect themselves against serious illness. Vaccinations considerably reduce the risk of hospitalization and death.

“To me, freedom means living without COVID-19. Vaccinations are the essential thing…to get COVID-19 under control,” he said. “It’s not over yet. We can’t be complacent.”

The Knutsens’ $16,000 will be added to donations from Stan Adelstein and Dave Davis and the American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation. Together, these funds will provide more than $20,000 in gift cards, and the Knutsens hope other members of the community will donate to provide even more Vax to Max Black Hills gift cards.

Currently, 70% of South Dakotans age 5 and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the South Dakota Department of Health. In the Black Hills, in the first two weeks of January, residents received nearly 1,000 boosters and more than 600 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Vax to the Max Black Hills effort will continue while gift cards run out, according to Chris Huber, donor relations manager at the Black Hills Area Community Foundation. Huber said Wednesday morning that the foundation had already given out 16 gift cards and was receiving numerous calls from people wanting more information.

“Vaccination is the best way to live our lives with more freedom and less fear,” Dr Knutsen said. “The vaccine is safer than many over-the-counter drugs and, in fact, it is available without a prescription. Your primary care physicians are ready to answer your questions.

Anyone who has questions or concerns about vaccination should talk to their primary care physician. Several local doctors made Vax public service announcements at the Max Black Hills to educate the community about COVID-19 and encourage vaccinations. To watch, go to

“People really have to decide who to trust. Will they trust someone on the internet who doesn’t have credentials, or will they trust (doctors) who have experience caring for sick people and care how infectious diseases affect people? says Dr. Knutsen.

Dr. Knutsen said myths about the COVID-19 vaccine and false claims that products such as ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine treat COVID-19 have no scientific basis.

“The misinformation out there is completely contrary to scientifically sound, researched, and data-based information,” Knutsen said. “At the end of the day, the COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t make you magnetic. He doesn’t microchip you. It is absolute nonsense that COVID-19 affects fertility. The vaccine can alter menstruation, but it does not affect fertility.

To donate to support Vax at the Max Black Hills, go to and contribute to the Black Hills Disaster Recovery Fund, or send checks payable to Black Hills Area Community Foundation to PO Box 231, Rapid City, South Dakota 57709.

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Michael N. Clark