Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced Aug. 17 that those who get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at any county-run site would receive $100, and she said the incentive has proven successful thus far.
Harris County Public Health administered an average of 431 first doses per day during the three weeks leading up to the announcement of the vaccine incentive program. Hidalgo said that number rose to 914 the day of the announcement.
The following day, 1,596 individuals received their first dose, and more than 2,700 did so on Saturday—a 529% increase, she said. The cash incentive is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act.
“Over the past week, we’ve seen an overwhelming response to our vaccine incentive program,” she said during an Aug. 24 press conference. “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.”
In response to the increase in demand, the NRG Park mass-vaccination site will relocate to Dick Graves Park, 2000 Reed Road, Houston, on Aug. 26. This move will allow for 1,800 first doses and 2,500 total vaccines to be administered daily—a larger capacity than NRG Park could offer, Hidalgo said.
Additionally, the county opened a new mass-vaccination site Aug. 24 at Sheldon ISD Panther Stadium, 11433C E. Sam Houston Parkway N., Houston. This site has the capacity to provide 1,500 vaccines per day and is open 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays.
Harris County Public Health is also increasing capacity at mobile vaccination units, and Hidalgo said by Aug. 27 the department would be able to offer 4,600 first doses and 7,600 total doses daily across all sites.
More than 2.2 million Harris County residents have been fully vaccinated as of Aug. 23, according to data from Harris County Public Health.
To register for a vaccine appointment and learn more about the vaccine incentive, visit www.readyharris.org or call 832-927-8787 to register and to find vaccination sites.