Harris County leaders will continue to offer $100 to individuals who get their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine through Sept. 15, extending the program two weeks beyond the original end date.
The decision comes after county officials saw continued success with the program since it was expanded to include all medical providers Aug. 26, Judge Lina Hidalgo announced Aug. 31. The original end date for the $100 incentive program was Aug. 31.
“If people do it for the $100, that's fine, whatever gets them to get the vaccine because we need to move past this,” Hidalgo said.
Additionally, Harris County hospitals received 1,300 new nurses, brought in from all over the country, between Aug. 11 and Aug. 31, Hidalgo said. The expense of finding and hiring the new nurses was funded by a $30 million initiative approved by Harris County Commissioners Court on Aug. 24 amid a nursing shortage due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“The nurses are coming from all around the country, and ... they're here because not enough people have gotten the vaccine,” Hidalgo said. “So, it's a terrible situation to be in, and it's even worse because of the fact that it's completely preventable.”
As previously reported by Community Impact Newspaper, Harris County Public Health saw a 706% increase in daily vaccinations as of Aug. 26 compared to before the incentive program was first announced Aug. 17.
Harris County residents who receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a medical office will need to submit a claim on the HCPH website by clicking here or by calling 832-927-8787. Insurance is not required to receive the incentive. Vaccine appointments can also be scheduled through HCPH’s website and phone number.