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Incentives and Benefits for Vaccinated Workers

Based on limited evidence, guaranteed gift incentives seem to be the most effective financial incentive to vaccine uptake. Approaches that workplaces have used include:

  • Cash bonuses

  • Paid time off or vacation days

  • Gift cards

  • Free products, such as vaccination card holders, food, or other gifts

  • Coupons for the workplace cafeteria

  • Examples available in 12 COVID-19 Vaccination Strategies for Your Community

Incentives can also be used to reinforce the message that high vaccine uptake is a collective effort, not just an individual one. Consideration could be given to offering incentives to all employees once the workplace vaccination rate exceeds a specific goal (e.g., 90%). This will help to avoid concerns about unequal treatment of those not vaccinated due to medical or religious exemptions and avoid tension between those who were vaccinated prior to workplace incentives and those who are vaccinated and receive the incentive.

Best Practices

Whether vaccination is at the workplace or in the community, employers should:

  • Allow time for vaccine confidence to grow. Employees who are hesitant at first may become more confident after seeing coworkers get vaccinated.

  • Ask organizations and individuals who are respected in employee communities to help you build confidence in COVID-19 vaccines.

  • Offer flexible, non-punitive sick leave options (e.g., paid sick leave) for employees experiencing symptoms after vaccination. Please see post-vaccination considerations for workplaces for further information.

Vaccination On Site at the Workplace

  • The planning process for hosting a workplace COVID-19 vaccination program should include input from management, human resources, employees, and labor representatives, if present.

  • Employers considering implementing a workplace COVID-19 vaccination program should contact the health department in their jurisdiction for guidance.

  • Employers may want to engage a community vaccination provider/vendor. These providers typically deliver worksite flu vaccination services and have expanded to provide COVID-19 vaccination. They have trained nursing staff available in all jurisdictions, can bill insurance for administration fees, and can report vaccine administration data to immunization registries.

  • Employers with an on-site clinic should offer more than one opportunity for vaccination. Mobile clinics can return to a worksite multiple times on a rotating schedule.

  • Vaccination providers must prepare to monitor for and manage potential adverse events after vaccination such as anaphylaxis.

  • Workplace vaccination clinics must offer vaccination at no charge and during work hours. Employees who get vaccinated should be provided with a CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record card. Ensure enough time is included for recovery and post-vaccination monitoring.

  • Provide easy access to vaccination for all people at the workplace, regardless of their status as a contractor or temporary employee.

  • See the National Institute of Health’s Key Elements of a Model Workplace Safety and Health COVID-19 Vaccination Programexternal icon.

Vaccination Off Site in the Community

If hosting a vaccination clinic at your workplace is not possible, consider other steps to encourage vaccination, listed below:

  • Allow employees to get vaccinated during work hours or take paid leave to get vaccinated at a community site. Ensure that enough time for recovery and post-vaccination monitoring is included.

  • Support transportation to off-site vaccination clinics, such as paying fares for taxis or ridesharing services and ensuring employees can maintain physical distancing during travel. Check with your local health department(s) about potential assistance, such as a mobile clinic or transportation support.

  • Post articles in company communications (e.g., newsletters, intranet, emails, portals) about the importance of COVID-19 vaccination, as well as how and where to get the vaccine in the community.

  • Educate and help employees make their appointments for vaccination through available channels.

  • Make sure employees know COVID-19 vaccination is provided free of charge. They should not be asked to pay any fee, including a vaccine administration fee, and cannot be denied vaccination if they do not have insurance coverage. Providers may bill their insurance plan or program for the administration fee if they have insurance.

  • Identify other potential barriers unique to your workforce and implement policies and practices to address them.


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