FORT WORTH, TX (KTVT) – North Texas has plenty of COVID-19 vaccine supply but that won’t stop the pandemic unless enough people are willing to take it, which is why Tarrant County is considering paying people to get protected.
Despite a strong start to the vaccine rollout, Tarrant County has seen a drop off in vaccine interest. “We’ve got to find some way to incentivize people to get out,” said County Judge Glen Whitley. “Maybe $50? If we pay $50 that’s close to $100 million if you look at Tarrant County being at about 2.1 million people.”
The county is on track to receive a little over $407 million in federal funds for COVID-related expenses, while cities within the county are expected to receive $456 million.
“So, what I would like to see us do is maybe go in and partner with the cities, so that if one of their citizens come forward maybe we pay half and they pay half, and we just give them a cash incentive for getting the vaccine,” Judge Whitley said.
The idea to offer incentives isn’t new, West Virginia is offering their young adult population savings bonds, while the City of Detroit is giving pre-paid cards to those who drive a neighbor or friend to a site.
To make the incentive happen in Tarrant County, Judge Whitley said they need to confirm under treasury regulations that the payments would be a covered cost, then the decision would be up to county commissioners. He said cash would likely be the easiest option and believes everyone vaccinated in the county should get it.