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The financial incentive

At this point, whatever works.

A week after public health officials in Texas’ most populous county started handing out $100 cash cards to locals getting their first COVID-19 shot, the number of daily vaccinations has shot up to six times its previous rate, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said Tuesday.

“We had an inkling that something was going right when I started my announcement [about the incentive] at noon, and by the time I was done, 30 minutes later, there was a line of cars waiting to receive the vaccine,” Hidalgo said. “We haven’t seen those lines for months.”

To accommodate and encourage the increased demand, the county will be opening an additional mass vaccination site and expanding its mobile vaccine program, Hidalgo said.

“You have to be creative, and we’re seeing the results and we’re doubling down on it,” Hidalgo said.

Harris County officials began the incentive program last Tuesday in a bid to jumpstart stalled vaccinations in Houston and surrounding areas, and to provide relief to the region’s stressed hospitals during what health officials say is the worst surge of infections the area has seen since the pandemic began last year.

For the three weeks before the program started, Hidalgo said, Harris County Public Health was administering an average of 431 first doses per day. The day the announcement was made, the number jumped to 914. The next day, 1,596 people sought the first doses from public health providers.

On Saturday, four days into the program, some 2,700 people got their first injection, Hidalgo said.

“This is an incredible achievement,” she said.

As the story notes, more vaccination sites are being opened to accommodate what I hope will be a sharp uptick in demand. The FDA approval of the Pfizer shot, and more companies telling their employees to get vaxxed may help push the numbers up as well. I honestly don’t care what the cause is, as long as it happens. And it needs to happen at a higher rate than this – even with the uptick statewide, we’re at less than 30% of the shots-per-day peak in April. Let’s get closer to that, and then we’ll really have something.

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  1. Marianna Cline says:

    Not to be a cynic, but i wonder how many of those folks really hadn’t been vaccinated. And if they truly hadn’t been vaccinated, doesn’t this just reinforce non-compliant behavior? When booster time comes, they’ll sit on the sidelines to see what they might get i guess at this point, I’m more of a stick person than a carrot one.

  2. Jason Hochman says:

    Honestly, why get vaccinated now? Hold out for more money. I will consider getting vaccinated when it gets up to the one million dollar range.

    Also waiting on the Nova Vax, which has better efficacy and safety, less side effects, then the stuff available now.

    J&J and Pfizer have paid out the two biggest pharmaceutical settlements in the history of the planet, so, let’s just say that they are not overly concerned with public health and safety when it comes to ethics, and profits. Of course the Democrats support Big Pharma and the rich in their profiteering and robber baronistic endeavors.

  3. C.L. says:

    “Of course the Democrats support Big Pharma and the rich in their profiteering and robber baronistic endeavors.”

    Do they, now ? Just the Dems ?

    AUGUST 2020: Twenty-three of the 25 drug companies or trade group PACs (ie. the Big Pharma boyz) in STAT’s survey contributed to Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader seeking reelection in 2020 who raked in more from the industry than any other lawmaker.

    As in previous cycles, the drug industry favored Republicans in its campaign giving, but only somewhat: Of the contributions that targeted specific lawmakers or party groups, 53.5% went to GOP lawmakers or Republican-aligned groups, spread across roughly 2,600 donations. The remaining 46.6% went to Democrats, spread across roughly 2,100 individual donations.

    The drug industry has showered $197,386 on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell this cycle, more than any other lawmaker. Its PACs have also thrown more than $100,000 each to five other Republican senators up for reelection, many of whom are seen as industry allies: Sens. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Cory Gardner of Colorado, John Cornyn of Texas, Steve Daines of Montana.

  4. Jason Hochman says:

    C.L. I agree with you there. I didn’t say ONLY the Democrats. As I have always said, the duopoly serves the millionaires, and mostly, the billionaires.

    I just get sick and tired of hearing Democrats saying how the rich need to be taxed into poverty, and going on about Big Pharma and how evil it is, and how it needs to give away those expensive drugs to the sick people. If you feel that way, stop helping to promote their products.

  5. Bill Daniels says:


    If we were being intellectually honest, we’d be asking some difficult questions. Why are we, on one hand, pushing Jab Crow hard, and on the other hand, trying to discourage Americans, and our doctors and pharmacists, from using effective treatments against Covid, to keep the infected out of our hospitals? If we were really serious, and fearful of Covid, wouldn’t we be trying to fight it on ALL fronts?

    The rest of the world is waking up and discovering that HCQ, Ivermectin, etc., are indeed effective treatments, and they’re promoting the responsible use of those drugs. Even in Houston, one of our more successful docs on the Covid front uses Ivermectin, but what do we get from our own federal government? “OMG, don’t take safe medicines that have been used for decades!” Why? Who benefits by frightening Americans away from inexpensive, effective treatments? And what do we say about the regular Americans who parrot that uniparty line?

    Japan seems to be the latest country to support Ivermectin use to fight Covid.

  6. Ross says:

    Bill, quit spreading your bullshit. There is not one properly done study that shows HCQ or ivermectin are effective as treatments for Covid. There are numerous cases of people hurting themselves taking these drugs, including deaths.

    Your link is to a treatment protocol that actually involves drugs that work on various phases of a Covid infection, but does not reference HCQ or ivermectin.

  7. Bill Daniels says:


    This Houston doc, the chief medical officer at his hospital, I see on the news frequently, being interviewed as an expert on Covid…..not a quack.

    You’ll note I’m not telling people not to get injected with the EUA drugs. Take them if you feel they’ll help you in your own personal situation. Why can’t you extend the same deference to others who think that other drugs are helpful as well?

    Have you protested in front of United Memorial Medial Center to try and get Varon fired, and the use of the dangerous Ivermectin stopped? Surely he’s killing people with his incompetence and arrogance. That’s the argument you’re making, Ross.

    It’s bullshit. The chief medical officer of UMMC is spreading bullshit. He’s hurting people. Varon is a monster.

  8. Adoile Turner III says:


  9. Ross says:

    Bill, quit spreading your bullshit about HCQ and Ivermectin. There are no studies that show them to be effective. The vaccines, however, have been proven to be safe and effective. The Pfizer version has received full approval.

  10. C.L. says:

    Caron is a clown. Anyone who’s even remotely associated with medicine in this town knows it… probably even Dr. Hochman. To think that he knows better than the 100K folks working in the TMC is farcical.

  11. J says:

    Now calls to the poison center are shooting up, according to the Chron-

    A quote from the story-

    “Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, hallucinations, high blood pressure, seizures and comas.
    These are the symptoms described to the Texas Poison Control Network from people who, in a desperate attempt to prevent or treat COVID-19 infections, are taking a drug bought at a feed store meant to deworm cattle and horses.”

    Great stuff!