FORT WORTH, Texas - Tarrant County leads North Texas in COVID-19 hospitalizations. This week, the problem became more alarming.
Now the county judge is revisiting the idea of vaccine incentives.
Tarrant County has seen nearly 6,700 new COVID-19 cases in a four-day span. That’s more than the months of May and June combined.
The county is also reporting the highest daily number of hospitalizations in North Texas.
The infusion center set up in Fort Worth to administer antibodies as a treatment and ease the burden on hospitals announced it is now accepting walk-in patients. Previously, the center took appointments only by referral from doctors.
County Judge Glen Whitley believes a cash incentive for vaccines is now a necessary move, considering the disturbing delta variant surge. But he says there are factors to consider first.
"The question I keep going over in my mind is if we don’t find a way to also compensate those folks who have already stepped up and gotten their vaccines, then are we going to end up rewarding people for procrastination," he said.
Whitley says he’s been in talks with Harris County leaders who have seen the rate of vaccinations jump tenfold since it began offering its residents a cash incentive, which now stands at $100.
Judge Whitley proposes $50 but is quick to point out other commission members have yet to weigh in on the idea. He hopes the discussion will move forward on Tuesday.
"One of the things I’m hoping we can discuss on Tuesday is maybe seeing if we can get some cities to partner with us. Maybe we pay $25, and they pay $25," he said. "We’ve got five members on the court, and all five of us may have different opinions about not only the amount but how we go about paying it. Whether we pay those people who’ve already been vaccinated or find a way to include them in the process."