Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo made the announcement Aug. 17 as the region faces a surge in cases and hospitalizations driven by the highly transmissible delta variant of the virus. The cash incentive is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act, she said.
“The consequences of this tragedy are all the more tragic when we remember there is a vaccine that is safe and effective and widely available,” Hidalgo said. “Harris County residents are losing their lives who don’t have to, and families are suffering who do not have to.”
Those interested can find vaccination sites by visiting www.readyharris.org or by calling 832-927-8787.
As of Aug. 16, 68.6% of county residents over the age of 12 had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Space in the region’s ICUs remains limited amid the current surge of cases with over 3,700 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the region, according to the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council.
Hospitalizations and deaths are almost entirely attributed to unvaccinated patients. Some 98% of those hospitalized within the Harris Health System, for example, are unvaccinated, said Harris Health CEO Dr. Esmaeil Porsa.