SAN ANTONIO, Texas (WJW)– A jail in Texas launched a new program to encourage its inmates to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Bexar County Jail will give $100 in commissary products to inmates who complete the two-dose series. Since Friday, about 1,200 participated in the voluntary program, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said during a news conference.

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“I can tell you we are not using taxpayer funds to fund this. What we’re using is commissary funds,” Salazar said. “They pay in to this account. We’re using monies from that account that can be converted to agency use as long as it’s used for the welfare of inmates. Basically, we’re reinvesting those monies into this program. So we’re letting them getting $100 care package from the commissary funds.”

It’s an effort prevent the spread of the virus in the jail and in the San Antonio community.

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“Jails have the propensity, if you don’t play your cards right, to incubate an illness like COVID-19,” Salazar said. “As 100 new bodies come into the jail every day and 100 new bodies leave the jail every day, some into the prison system, some into the community. And it’s just a spreader.

The sheriff said there are currently 17 positive cases of COVID in the jail, which houses about 4,400 inmates.

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