Harris County at COVID-19 threat level ‘Red,’ hospitals face strain from Delta
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo speaks at NRG Park, April 11, 2020. AP Photo by David J. Phillip.

Harris County Judge Hidalgo held a news conference Tuesday at 12 p.m. to announce a major new public health initiative to address the ongoing COVID-19 emergency.

During the news conference, Hidalgo announced that anyone who gets their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine through Harris County Public Health will receive a $100 cash card per person, no strings attached.

In order to get the $100, people will need to sign a waiver prior to the vaccine and will need to stay in the post-vaccine waiting area for 15 to 30 minutes after receiving the vaccine, Hidalgo said.

The judge also encourages people to use the $100 to help small businesses. She encouraged residents to spend the money at a local restaurant or store in order to show support to local businesses.

Hidalgo said the incentive is effective immediately. Visit the Harris County Public Health website to learn more about the incentive or to find a vaccine location near you.

Over the past several months, the delta variant of COVID-19 has spread quickly across Harris County, straining hospital systems and disproportionately impacting unvaccinated residents. Over 98% of people currently hospitalized for COVID-19 in the Harris Health System have not been vaccinated, according to a news release from her office.