Demand for COVID-19 vaccine triples in Harris County after $100 incentive announcement
Houston - A long line of cars wrapped around NRG Stadium’s parking lot Thursday for COVID-19 vaccines.
Earlier this week, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced a new initiative that gives people $100 for getting their first COVID-19 vaccine dose.
"There was never really a need [to get the shot before]," said Walter Young. "But, now that they have the Delta [variant], I think there is a need."
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Young is a 57-year-old single parent of two children. According to Young, the $100 financial incentive only motivated him more get the vaccine Thursday.
"It motivated me, but these two right here really prompted my decision," said Young, holding his kids.
Demand for the vaccine has more than tripled across Harris County since Tuesday’s $100 announcement. We’re told the county had been giving out roughly 430 first vaccine doses per day prior to this week. However, that number has now increased to about 1,500.
"The turnout is beyond what we expected," said Hidalgo.
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According to Hidalgo, the vaccine incentive is being paid for by the American Rescue Plan.
"We’ve approved around $2.3 million for the first round," said Hidalgo. "The funds are coming from the American Rescue Plan dollars. Federal dollars Harris County is receiving. In large part, they’re for these kinds of purposes."
The rejuvenated demand for vaccines caused NRG’s mass vaccination site to return to having people make appointments for shots.
"They said I had to be registered," said Peggy Bean. "Every time I come here, yesterday and today, there’s some kind of excuse."
The 64-year-old says she has a compromised immune system and had been hesitant on the vaccine. However, because of the Delta variant, Bean says she’s been hiring people to take her to get the shot. So far, she hasn’t had any luck.
"I’ve just had second thoughts up until now [about the vaccine]," said Bean. "Now, I’ve got my nerves up to take the shot and they tell me I can’t get it. I don’t understand it."
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Officials want to remind people to make appointments before going to the Harris County vaccine locations. If you’re interested, click HERE.
"A lot of us would die for our kids, but would you live for them," said Young. "I’m living for mine."