Updated July 28, 2021 - 8:17 pm
Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom is proposing using federal coronavirus relief funds to give $100 to every person who gets vaccinated, the latest incentive to be offered in Nevada, where COVID-19 immunization rates have slowed.
“It just seems like at this point we’ve got to consider everything we can,” Segerblom said by phone Wednesday.
Segerblom suggested pulling $10 million from American Rescue Plan funds “to promote vaccines and vaccinations,” an investment that he called “a drop in the bucket” of the $440 million in federal money recently allocated to the county.
Not all of the funds Segerblom proposed to set aside would be used to bankroll $100 payments to the newly vaccinated. But direct incentives will allow county officials to get federal money out faster than other programs while evaluating fairly quickly whether the effort is a success, he added.
Less than 49 percent of people in Clark County 12 and older — those eligible for a vaccine — have been fully inoculated, according to the Southern Nevada Health District. More than 61 percent have received at least a first dose.
Meanwhile, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has been deployed in Southern Nevada for nearly two weeks assisting state and local officials with setting up vaccination sites and canvassing neighborhoods.
With coronavirus cases continuing to rise in the state and the county, Nevada ordered Tuesday that people wear face masks in public indoor spaces in areas with high rates of COVID-19 transmission. There has been a slight uptick in vaccinations in Nevada since cases began to rise in June.
Segerblom, who will publicly discuss his proposal with fellow commissioners next week, acknowledged his idea was “outside the box,” but it is not unprecedented.
New York City announced Wednesday it would institute a similar program to the one being proposed by Segerblom. And other locales in the U.S. have offered cash incentives to try to boost vaccination numbers.
“When I first proposed (it), I thought this is going to be laughed off the stage,” he said. “But when I saw NYC, I thought, holy cow, this is doable.”
If other county lawmakers get on board, the $100 incentive will follow other recent efforts to encourage Nevadans to get vaccinated, including a statewide sweepstakes, free beer, lap dances, and a pre-rolled pot cigarette for a penny.
“I think everyone agrees that masks are temporary solutions,” Segerblom said. “We just need to get everyone vaccinated.”