COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – In an effort to help with the COVID-19 vaccination process, the Columbus City Council unanimously voted to approve a new initiative that will put cash into residents’ pockets. 

It’s called the Vaccine Green Initiative. 

The council says this is a way to help people who 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 in the way of people getting their vaccine?'” Brown said. “The fact of the matter is life and finances very much get in the way for a lot of workers across Columbus.”

The initiative, which was approved Monday, will allow city residents to receive 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% 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 Columbus Public Health will have mobile units in those low-income 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 those neighborhoods.

Anyone who would like to register for the Vaccine Green Initiative can visit the Columbus Urban League website.