JONESBORO — The Clayton County Board of Commissioners has rejected a proposal to pay residents a $100 incentive to get a COVID-19 vaccination.
The motion failed 1-3 with Board Chair Jeff Turner the lone supporter of the Vaccine Incentive Program during the board’s Sept. 7 meeting. The $500,000 program would have been paid using American Rescue Plan Act funds to issue residents a $100 gift card.
Commissioner Demont Davis said he was totally opposed to the idea and that enticing citizens with money to get vaccinated was not a wise use of funds.
He said monies needed to be put into the hands of people truly in need, suggesting the funding go toward housing.
Commissioner Gail Hambrick said the county was only entertaining the idea based on what other counties in the area have done.
Commissioner Felicia Franklin called the vaccine incentive a “grand great idea, but can be difficult to manage … our county offers a lot of resources ... when it comes to vaccines.”
Davis recommended creating a Clayton County vaccination location database for residents while using ARPA money to fund mobile vaccine units throughout the county.
Turner said the county needed to try something because hospitals are overrun and the Delta variant is “killing folks everyday.”
“Anytime we can increase the number of vaccinated, it’s one more person than we have now,” he said.
The BOC appears to have bucked local and national incentivization trends. The Clayton County Board of Education recently approved bonuses to employees who are fully vaccinated by the end of September.
The Henry County Board of Education also approved a similar measure offering fully vaccinated employees $1,000.
DeKalb County recently offered residents a $100 gift card to get vaccinated.
Companies around the country are also offering several different incentives to encourage their employees to get vaccinated, including additional pay, gift cards, paid time off and reimbursement for travel to a vaccine site.