In a bid to encourage vaccine-hesitant people to come out and get themselves inoculated, the Houston Health Department is planning to offer $150 in gift cards for those getting vaccinated. This comes as there is an alarming increase in COVID-19 cases throughout Texas driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant.
Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the plan Friday and said Houston City Council will vote on it next week. He said that hopes the gift cards will encourage more Houstonians to get vaccinated, KHOU 11 reported.
If the gift card-centered program pushes through, those vaccinated with their first dose could get up to $100 gift cards. They must go to Houston Health Department’s health centers and multi-service centers to get the shot and be eligible for the gift card. The program is most likely to kick off on August 26.
Those who will get their second dose of Moderna or Pfizer can get up to $50 worth of gift cards. Those who will get the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will get a $100 gift card. The city plans to give out a total of 20,000 Mastercard gift cards.
The program was also planned to encourage those who got their first dose to get the second dose. Dr. David Persse, the chief medical officer for the City of Houston, said that it is vital that people get both doses for the vaccines that require two doses because it will result in the best protection of the citizens from the deadly virus. Persse added, “Full vaccination is extremely effective at preventing people from getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19.”
The money that will be used for this new incentive program will come from the American Rescue Plan Act. This is not the first time that the incentive program for people who will get vaccinated was rolled out. During the first time, it was in effect, those who got their second dose were only eligible for gift cards amounting to $25.