Royal Oak launches ‘Shots for Shots’ campaign to incentivize vaccinations

They say the best ideas are born in a bar and that’s what happened. The idea was thought of at The Rock on 3rd.

ROYAL OAK, Mich. – A new incentive is being offered to those who get the COVID vaccine in Royal Oak.

The Shots of Shots Vaccination Campaign takes place Friday. City officials are hoping to vaccinate 250 people.

June 2, 2021: Michigan coronavirus cases up to 889,001; Death toll now at 19,209

They say the best ideas are born in a bar and that’s what happened. The idea was thought of at The Rock on 3rd.

The idea is to offer $10 that can be used at any Downtown Royal Oak business in exchange for getting the COVID vaccine. All newly vaccinated will receive $10 in Royal Oak Downtown Dollars that can be used at 70 Royal Oak downtown businesses -- including buying a shot of one’s favorite adult beverage.

“It made a lot of sense,” said Oakland County commissioner Dave Woodward. “We want to increase vaccinations and get to that magic number and how we accomplish that -- whether it’s free stuff, I don’t care what it takes, let’s make it happen. From a public health perspective, it seemed like a perfect solution.”

The idea was actually Sarah Roosen’s.

“if you offer someone free alcohol -- especially that age group -- they’re going to take it,” Roosen said.

Roosen has been a server at The Rock on 3rd for 22 years. She told Royal Oak commissioner Brandon Kolo of her idea, who told Woodward. Next thing she knew, it was a thing.

“All of a sudden, they got the Downtown Development Authority involved and restaurant association involved, it was amazing,” Roosen said. “I don’t want to wear masks the rest of my life or stand six feet away from people I know and this is the way to do it.”

With Ohio putting on vaccine lotteries and Anheuser-Busch offering a beer to vaccinated people, “Shots for Shots” isn’t too risque, and even if it is, Woodward isn’t worried because the reward doesn’t have to be alcohol.

“An appetizer, ice cream, burrito -- it doesn’t really matter,” Woodward said. “Whatever it takes to get to 70% vaccination level. This makes sense.”

Those who come out will receive the Pfizer shot and they will have a second shot scheduled three weeks later. When people get their second shot, they’ll get a second gift certificate.

No appointment is necessary, but people are encouraged to sign-up by going to the city’s website or

More: Royal Oak news

About the Authors:

Jason anchors Local 4's 5:30 p.m. newscast. He joined WDIV in January 2015 as a general assignment reporter and has a Journalism degree from Michigan State University.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.