Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo introduced an $100 cash incentive last week in the resurgence of COVID-19, and its Delta variant.
According to a press release, Harris County Public Health (HCPH) will provide $100 cash cards to residents receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a Harris County vaccination site, and remain in the post-vaccination waiting area for the 15-to-30 minutes recommended.
In a statement made last Tuesday, Hidalgo says that the incentive program will cost $2.3 million and will be pulled from the $900 million federal budget provided to Harris County by the American Rescue Plan.
The new vaccine encouragement comes as the Delta variant is running rampant throughout Texas. KHOU reported that three Memorial Hermann locations closed Monday due to a COVID-19 surge.
Although Harris County is improving in vaccine rates, according to the Harris County COVID-19 Data Hub, only 47.6 percent of Harris County is fully vaccinated.
Hidalgo reports that since the incentive announcement, vaccinations have increased. Three weeks before the program vaccine incentive began, HCPH was administering an average of 431 doses per day. That number increased to 914 following the vaccine stimulus.
In the days to follow, over 4,000 people received their first dose, marking a "529 percent increase," according to Hidalgo.
"Over the past week, we've seen an overwhelming response to our vaccine program. It's a win for the people of Harris County, and it's a much-needed boost to the health care workers that have been working day after day seeing unnecessary tragedy in their hospitals, and so many families that continue to struggle with this virus," Hidalgo says during her August 24 press conference.
Due to the high response from Houston residents to get the vaccine, the NRG Park vaccination site is relocating to Dick Graves Park, to better accommodate the influx of Houstonians. The county has also opened another mass vaccination site, at Sheldon ISD Panther Stadium.
Offer ends on August 31.