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Austin residents showed up by appointment on Friday for vaccine shots to get a free ACL ticket. (Laura Figi/Austonia)

Exactly 1,000 Austinites were vaccinated in the name of live music on Friday, thanks to a vaccine drive put on by ACL organizers and VaxTogetherAustin, which traded a jab for a free, single-day ACL wristband.

ACL tweeted that they would give the first 1,000 people who signed up for the drive a free pass to any day of the first weekend just two days before the drive was scheduled—on Friday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. at Q2 Stadium.

Vaccine incentives are not new to Austin—Austin Public Health began offering $50 H-E-B gift cards to recipients of both first and second doses earlier this month. VaxTogetherAustin founder and Executive Director Sharon Cohan told Ausotnia since the uptake of vaccines has plateaued, the giveaway gave people an extra push to schedule an appointment.

"This is Austin and people love live music—both weekends of ACL Music Festival are sold out," Cohan said. "Several people that I've spoken with today have said that they were here because life is busy and you know, they're a little worried about it, they were waiting until a good time. Then they saw this opportunity, and it was too good to pass up."

The drive gave out first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine, second doses of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. Though all 1,000 spots were claimed, VaxTogetherAustin is announcing when appointments open up on their Twitter so you might not yet have missed your chance to score a wristband.

Both 26-year-old Jessica Valdes and 28-year-old Andre Mitchell were due for their second shots when the promotion was announced, so registering for the drive was a no-brainer. Valdes chose a Saturday wristband to see Billie Eilish, while Mitchell opted for a Sunday ticket so he could see Tyler, the Creator.

Mitchell, who lives nearby the stadium, said he's excited to finally be able to go to music festivals and travel again now that he's vaccinated.

"I honestly forgot all about it so it's a perfect incentive to get my second dose," Mitchell said. "I can travel anywhere out of the country, that's the biggest thing for me, and I can go to festivals again—especially in Austin, I feel like that's really the bread and butter of everything."

Feeling frustrated because you've already been vaccinated? While she understands the sentiment and wishes vaccine incentives weren't necessary, Cohan said incentives work and the goal is to get as many people vaccinated as possible.

"Vaccine incentives, we wish we didn't need to use them, right? But they work and at this point, if we want to control the pandemic and relieve our overwhelmed healthcare system, we need for people to be taking the vaccine if at all possible," Cohan said. "Our organization is committed to making the vaccine as accessible as possible to reducing barriers to getting vaccinated and reducing hesitancy."


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