"Judges do innovative things like this all the time. For example, you have probably seen or heard in the past the judge would allow your donation of blood instead of community service work or instead of payment of the fine," District Attorney Hillar Moore explained of the option. "If a judge is going to make this offer, I think it's a reasonable one."
Judge Fred T. Crifasi allowed at least two people the option to get the vaccine instead of finishing out their community service hours, according to court document reviewed by news outlet WBRZ. One of the offenders owed 33 hours of community service, according to the court records.
The district attorney added that anyone who is uncomfortable with the option can opt out.
"These judges in these circumstances are being totally reasonable, but I do understand that someone may think that way. And if that's the case, don't get vaccinated," Moore said.
Defense Attorney Jarrett Ambeau, however, noted this might not be an appropriate offer, but added that Judge Crifasi is "incredibly fair."
"I don't think the government is necessarily the right entity to be involved in me injecting something into my body," Ambeau said. "Judge Crifasi himself, individually, is incredibly fair. The point is when a government actor steps in to ask you to do something like, 'will I suffer for not doing it?' And that is the question."
The incentive to get the vaccine has also spread to prisons in Louisiana, with the Department of Corrections saying inmates at state prisons are offered a $5 "canteen credit" for getting the shot, WBRZ reported.
The incentives come as the Biden administration continues encouraging Americans to get the vaccine, and says pushback against disinformation concerning the coronavirus is "literally a matter of life and death."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had said in May that fully vaccinated people were not required to wear masks indoors, but updated its mask guidance Tuesday for vaccinated people over the threat of the delta variant of the virus. It now urges people in some areas of the country with "high" or "substantial" COVID-19 transmission to mask up indoors.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki noted Tuesday that vaccines "work," adding masks are an "extra step" to protect against the virus.