How can Kentucky businesses boost vaccine acceptance? Gov. Beshear discusses incentives, programs with Chamber members

By Rachel Nix, Building Kentucky

With many Kentuckians on the fence about getting vaccinated and others unwilling or unable to take wait in lines, the state is making efforts to reach holdouts starting with increased outreach to business owners.

Gov. Andy Beshear recently met with Kentucky Chamber members to ask for their help increasing vaccination rates in Kentucky.

“We had the home runs,” said Beshear, referring to the fervent demand for COVID-19 vaccines in the first few months of availability. “Now we need the singles and doubles.”

With several safe and effective vaccines available, Kentucky has the tools needed to defeat COVID-19 if enough people chose to be vaccinated.

How Businesses Are Increasing Vaccine Acceptance

Gov. Beshear plans to lift most COVID-19 related restrictions once 2.5 million Kentuckians are fully vaccinated as part of his Team Kentucky Vaccination Challenge.

Getting to that number will be beneficial for businesses and citizens – but work is needed. Many businesses are getting creative with how they encourage staff and customers to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

1. Incentive Programs

Whether it’s gift cards, free food, or entertainment tickets, employers and major businesses are giving incentives to promote vaccination.

Krispy Kreme made national headlines when it announced a free donut daily for anyone who shows proof of vaccination through the end of 2021.

Beef O’Brady’s announced that all current workers and new hires will get a $100 gift card to a business of their choice provided by the company upon being fully vaccinated. Owners noted getting restrictions lifted for restaurants as vaccine acceptance rates increase will be critical to business operations this year.

Racing Louisville FC, a new professional women’s soccer team, hosted a vaccination site at a recent game offering a voucher for a free admission ticket to a future match after getting a shot.

2. On-Site Vaccination Clinics

Bringing vaccines directly to people and having them see others they know and trust receive the vaccine is effective in getting more Kentuckians vaccinated. Companies and communities are working with Kentucky health officials to set up pop-up vaccination clinics on-site in their area.

The state is currently working to set up temporary pods in Henderson and London, Kentucky with mobile units to visit regional sites. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is coordinating the set up of these vaccination clinics and pop-up offerings.

3. Extra Time-Off For Post-Vaccine Recovery

One hesitation with getting vaccinated is often the side effects that may be involved. Planning for a recovery day, and fitting a vaccine appointment into a busy schedule, can be difficult.

Louisville-based Humana is one of many businesses that offer extra paid time off (PTO) to staff to take the time needed to receive a vaccine and manage side effects afterward will likely help boost vaccine acceptance. The federal government is currently working on a paid leave tax credit to offset those costs to employers.

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