COVID Houston: $ 100 Incentive Now Supplied for First Dose of Vaccine in Harris County

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) – Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo introduced a $ 100 cash incentive for those who receive their first dose of vaccine for COVID-19.

While she conceded an improvement in the numbers, including a 63% first-time vaccination rate in the county, there is still a 20% positivity rate amid the highly contagious delta variant.

To receive US $ 100 in the form of a debit card, residents must sign a waiver prior to vaccination and recommend staying in the post-vaccination waiting area at a Harris County public health vaccination center for 15 to 30 minutes.

Payments are made at the time of vaccination and the program runs through August 31st.

Prior to Tuesday’s announcement, Hidalgo’s office described the incentive as a “major public health initiative” to ease the burden on hospital stays.

She added that more people with COVID are now hospitalized in the greater Houston area than ever before during the pandemic.

Harris Health System President and CEO Dr. Esmaeil Porsa, supported Hidalgo’s sentiment earlier this month, calling the current situation a pandemic of the unvaccinated.

WATCH: “I beg you” to do the right thing amid the surge, says the hospital’s CEO

The hospital system reported that just over 98% of those hospitalized for COVID in the Harris Health System were not vaccinated. And on Tuesday, Harris County Public Health’s COVID dashboard showed that just over 26% of ICU beds in the county’s hospitals are for COVID patients.

According to Porsa, an intensive care bed for a COVID patient takes care of those who need it for non-viral illnesses like trauma. The vaccine, which experts said was not perfect, reduces the severity and length of symptoms.

SEE MORE: Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo raises COVID threat level to “severe”

Overall, Hidalgo summed up Tuesday’s announcement and noted that there are people suffering from the virus who didn’t have to.

In the hours following Harris County’s offer, Mayor Sylvester Turner also called for vaccinations and said the city of Houston had exceeded 3,000 deaths from the pandemic.

Today the city of Houston reached a grim milestone. There have been over 3,000 deaths from # COVID19. In fact, it’s 3,010 because there are 11 deaths reported today.

– Sylvester Turner (@SylvesterTurner) August 17, 2021

Turner and Dr. David Persse, the city’s chief doctor, sent a vaccination message to the “younger generation” who are still reluctant to get the injections.

Regarding social media messages claiming the vaccines are changing DNA, Turner said it just wasn’t true.

For our younger generation, a lot of misinformation is spread on social media. I ask our athletes, musicians, and other influential people to help us raise their voices and encourage everyone to get the # COVID19 vaccination.

– Sylvester Turner (@SylvesterTurner) August 17, 2021

The # COVID19 vaccination does not change your DNA, nor does it prevent people from having children. We must work together to debunk these myths and protect ourselves and our loved ones as we battle this virus and its variants.

– Sylvester Turner (@SylvesterTurner) August 17, 2021

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