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These companies are offering incentives for workers who get the COVID-19 vaccine

Incentive is for those eligible, when vaccinations begin for essential employees

FILE - In this file photo dated Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, a health worker prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered in Fiumicino, near Rome's international airport. The World Health Organization Monday Feb. 15, 2021, granted an emergency authorization to the coronavirus vaccine made by AstraZeneca, a move that should allow its partners to ship millions of doses to countries worldwide as part of a U.N.-backed program to stop the pandemic.(AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, FILE) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ORLANDO, Fla. – As the U.S. grapples with the coronavirus, its latest obstacle is working to get doses of a coronavirus vaccine out to the public.

Health leaders are struggling with transportation, setting up vaccination sites and making sure there are enough doses for the second round of shots too while trying to meet high demands for doses.

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In Florida, people 65 years old or older, those deemed high-risk with health complications and healthcare workers can get vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 vaccination plans have essential workers slated to soon be added to the list of priority vaccinations.

As the country works to rollout more vaccines to the general public, health departments are working on how they can provide access to vaccinations that tackle challenges such as a patient’s child care needs, vaccine site locations and transportation. Some company leaders are making sure work isn’t an obstacle, too.

Below are companies offering incentives to their workers who opt to get vaccinated.

Aldi

The discount grocery store says hourly workers will get up to four hours of pay if they choose to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The company says two hours will be for each dose they receive, also covering the cost to administer the vaccine.

Dollar General

The company, which was deemed an essential retailer, said it will offer workers a bonus if they get vaccinated.

Workers will get a one-time payment equal to four hours of wages.

Dollar General has been open through much of the pandemic and adds that getting vaccinated is a personal decision and will not make it a requirement.

Darden Restaurants

The Orlando-based company is offering its workers paid time off for the coronavirus vaccine.

This offer will stand as more people become eligible, according to Darden Restaurants. It will offer two hours of pay for each dose of a vaccine and up to four hours of total pay for complete vaccination.

Darden said the payments will be based on the worker’s total earnings including tips. The maximum pay rate will be $20 an hour. Proof of vaccination will be required.

Darden Restaurants operates chains including Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse.

Bento Asian Kitchen and Sushi

The Asian-fusion restaurant is offering hourly staff two hours of paid time off to get vaccinated.

The company currently has 24 locations with a majority of restaurants in Florida.

Bento said pay will be based on the employee’s current hourly rate and provided upon proof of vaccination. The company said it will not require employees to get the shots.

Instacart

The online grocery delivery service announced its COVID-19 Vaccine Support Stipend will go into effect beginning Feb. 1

Instacart is offering $25 for shift leads, in-store shoppers and full-service shoppers.

The company is also advocating for its shoppers to be given priority access to the vaccine as they are not recognized federally as grocery store workers. Per the CDC’s vaccination plans, grocery store workers are recommended to be included in the next phase of vaccinations.

Publix

Publix will offer its associates a $125 Publix gift card after they complete their full COVID-19 vaccine.

To receive the gift card, associates must be currently employed, submit an internal form and proof of vaccination. Although not required, the company is encouraging its staff to get the vaccine. Associates are not required to be vaccinated at a Publix Pharmacy to receive the gift card.

Trader Joe’s

Known for its unique grocery store goods, the company said it plans to reimburse employees with two hours of pay per dose for workers who choose to get inoculated.

The company says each individual location will work to make sure its workers also have time to schedule an appointment.

This story will be updated as companies announce incentives.


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