Memphis City Council to discuss incentivizing Covid vaccine after Biden suggests $100 payments

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The highly contagious Delta Variant is quickly spreading in our community. Health leaders said it’s responsible for 90 percent of local Covid cases, which is why doctors and local leaders are urging people to get vaccinated.

President Joe Biden wants to use pandemic money to pay people $100 to do so. As Memphis City Council members discuss how to spend the money the city’s received, Councilman Martavius Jones said he’s open to using some for vaccine incentives.

“There’s a large group that whatever amount you offer them they still won’t do that. I’m not addressing those. We have to address those that for one reason or another they’ve decided not to do so. If a financial incentive will get them over the finish line if you would then, I’m open to having those discussions,” he said.

Community leaders and pastors like Dr. Kia Moore said this is a good start but we can’t stop there.

“We need to educate people more but also incentivize the process,” she said. “So, I do agree that we need to incentivize the process, but we also need to do a much better job of educating people about what vaccines are, what they’re capable of doing and why this virus will continue to mutate unless all of us get vaccinated.”

She said as the virus changes so should the messaging to public.

“I think we need to tell both stories. The stories of people who chose the vaccine and are living and thriving, and the stories of people unable to get the vaccine because they passed before the science was available, and how they would want us to take advantage of the science they were not able to take advantage of,” she said.

Memphis City Council meets Tuesday to discuss a plan for those federal funds.

Mayor Lee Harris’ office sent WREG a statement saying, “Cash incentives might work. Although we have no concrete plans along these lines at the present time, we will certainly review the latest innovations from our federal partners.”

Across the bridge, the mayor and city of West Memphis said they’re considering offering those $100 incentives to residents to be vaccinated.

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