COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — In an effort to help with the COVID-19 vaccination process, Columbus City Council unanimously voted to approve a new initiative that will put cash into residents’ pockets.
It’s called the Vaccine Green Initiative.
Council says this is a way to help people who really can’t afford to take time off from work to get the vaccine or, if necessary, to recover from it.
President Pro Tempore Elizabeth Brown said the goal is to break barriers.
“We asked the question, ‘What is getting the way of people getting their vaccine?'” Brown said. “The fact of the matter is life and finances very much gets in the way for a lot of workers across Columbus.”
The Vaccine Green Initiative, which was approved unanimously by City Council Monday, is that next step.
City residents will be able to get up to $100 for getting either the single Johnson & Johnson shot or the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
“We’re at the stage of this thing where whatever we have to do to get folks to take care of themselves and our community, we are game,” said Council President Shannon Hardin. “We will entertain that.”
He said this isn’t meant to be an incentive. It’s about helping those who can’t afford to miss work.
“Take care of the folks who have to make a decision between keeping themselves healthy and working and putting food on the table,” Hardin said Monday night.
“It’s sobering that some neighborhoods you know only have that 25 percent vaccination rate and the reason, it’s sobering, is that we’re talking public health here,” Brown said. “We are truly all in this together. We can keep each other safe.”
She added that council is looking at those low-income areas and that Columbus Public Health will have mobile units in those areas to spur vaccination and education efforts.
“If this is successful, that shows us that the premise we believe is there, that something is getting in the way of folks getting their vaccine, is actually true, and if that’s the case, let’s try to replicate our success,” Brown said.
Columbus Public Health will operate the mobile vaccination unit for much of June across the city to reach some of those neighborhoods. To find a pop-up clinic, click here for the schedule.
Anyone who would like to register for the Vaccine Green Initiative can visit the Columbus Urban League website.