Local governments aim to get more residents vaccinated via incentives

Local News

CAMERON COUNTY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The City of Harlingen approved a vaccine incentive at this week commissioners meeting. The incentive gives people 12 and up with a $50 award for getting their first dose of the vaccine. All funds come from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Cameron County Health Authority Dr. James Castillio says even with incentives more people are slowly getting vaccinated.

“Incentives like that have helped offset some of the costs associated with it,” Dr. Castillio said. “There is not a direct cost to get a vaccine, but it might be time of work.. it might be travel.. you know for some people every penny counts.”

But the recent FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine, Dr. Castillio says local vaccine rates are not high enough.

“We’re still as not a high as we would like to be, certainly not high enough to end this pandemic and make this a thing of the past.” Dr. Castillio said. “I think it’s still about hoping that people who are saying that they are reviewing the data, they are trying to do their own research are looking at that reputable information that is out there.”

Dr. Castillio says one of the biggest reasons some people have not gotten vaccinated is because of misinformation.

“This is probably the most studied drug or vaccine that has come to market,” Dr. Castillio said. “There is no drug that has been approved and has been tested in as many people as it has.”

And with Cameron County’s incentive still in place until Sept. 30, there is just hope more people will get motivated to get vaccinated.

“I think these incentives really help the people who have a bit of apathy,” Dr. Castillo said . “They are just not motivated enough to do it. If you can give them any sort of motivation to encourage them, wonderful.”

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