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Columbia brewery to offer free beer for vaccine next week

Breweries across the state are partnering with DHEC to offer a COVID-19 vaccine for a free beer or soda as part of the agency’s ‘Shot and a Chaser’ campaign.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Would you get vaccinated against the coronavirus for a free beer?

State health officials are hoping more young people will answer yes.

Starting next week, breweries across the state will partner with S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to offer a shot for a free beer or soda as part of the agency’s ‘Shot and a Chaser’ COVID-19 vaccine campaign with the South Carolina Brewers Guild.

River Rat Brewery at 1231 Shop Road in Columbia is one of the locations. Patrick Wachter was there Saturday and shared his thoughts.

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“I think it’ll get more people into the vaccine which we need,” Wachter said. “Might push them over the line to finally decide to do it and if you can throw in a free beer, why not? I’ve already been vaccinated, but I’ll see if I can still get a free one.”

According to DHEC data, those 20 to 24 are the least vaccinated population in the state.

“DHEC’s partnership with the South Carolina Brewer’s Guild is the latest example of innovation and outside-the-box thinking that it’s going to take to beat this pandemic,” DHEC Director Dr. Edward Simmer said in a statement. “Young adults are often busy travelers and incredibly social, so we want to make sure they get their shot to protect themselves and others while visiting restaurants, vacationing, and attending various events. This promotion will go a long way in meeting that goal.”

However, some aren’t so convinced it will be enough to get young people off the fence.

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“I think it would be like a good incentive as for people who did get vaccinated and want to be without masks on, but it’s not like something that would determine if I got it or not,” Samantha Flemming said. “It’s just a cool thing that they’re offering.”

River Rat will be offering the Johnson and Johnson (Janssen) one-dose shot and the Moderna two-dose vaccine on Friday, June 11 from 3 – 7p. They’re asking guests to request a ticket in advance through their Facebook page.

Tap Room Manager John Turner said he’s hoping the event will help get the word out that shots are available.

“I think that they’re in larger groups more, and the more they do it, the more it’s going to spread to other people,” Turner said.

To view a full list of participating locations visit www.stayscstrong.com/breweries.