Companies offer financial incentives to encourage COVID-19 vaccination

As vaccinations continue across the U.S., some companies are offering financial incentives to encourage their workers to get the shots.

Dollar General is one of the first major companies to announce extra pay for workers who get vaccinated. The Goodlettsville, Tennessee-based retailer, which operates nearly 17,000 stores in 46 states, said Wednesday it will give employees the equivalent of four hours of pay if they get the vaccine.

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Dollar General said the extra pay is intended to compensate for the travel time, mileage and child care expenses that employees will incur to get the vaccine.

"We do not want our employees to have to choose between receiving a vaccine or coming to work," Dollar General said.

The retailer said it’s encouraging workers to get the vaccines, but not requiring them. In it annual report last February, the company said it had 143,000 employees.

A vaccine advisory panel at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control voted late last month on recommendations for vaccine distribution. The panel said grocery workers — which would include Dollar General’s employees — should be in the second group to receive shots after health care workers and nursing home residents.

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Firefighters, police, teachers, corrections workers, postal employees and others are in that second group, along with people 75 and older. There are around 50 million people in that group.