HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Harris County's COVID-19 vaccine incentive program has been extended until Sept. 14, according to Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo.
The program, which was scheduled to end on Aug. 31, was extended in an effort to help bring down the number of COVID cases as the surge has impacted hospitals.
"We have limited beds, limited supply of nurses to support them. We've seen emergency rooms close. We've seen vital surgeries continued to be delayed," Hidalgo said.
During a briefing Tuesday, Hidalgo addressed the recent death of Daniel Wilkinson, an Army Veteran who died from a treatable illness after family says he waited seven hours for an ICU bed to become available.
"This should not happen anywhere in America. But especially not in Harris County, especially not when we have a vaccine that is readily available, that is free and that works," she said.
Those who are eligible to get the COVID vaccine can visit any provider across the county and get their first dose and receive a $100 cash card.
Here's how the program works:
If you live in Harris County, you can get your COVID vaccine anywhere in the county with any health care provider, such as a doctor or a pharmacy.
Once you've received your dose, visit the Harris County website to submit a claim. You'll be asked to provide basic information such as your name, email, phone number and the health care provider who administered your dose.
You'll then be eligible to receive a $100 cash card or a virtual cash card.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said it's important to note that this process can take up to 10 days before you get your money.
After the launch of the incentive program, Hidalgo said the county saw a major boost in vaccination rates.
According to Hidalgo, three weeks prior to the incentive, the public health department was administering an average of 431 first doses per day.
On Aug. 17, the day the incentive was announced, the average number of first doses per day almost doubled to 914. The next day, that number shot up to 1,596 people who got their first dose.
"And it's just gone up from there," Hidalgo said.