Lancaster County Employees Can Get $200 For Being Vaccinated
By Melissa Rosales , Reporter/Producer Nebraska Public Media
Sept. 9, 2021, 4:02 p.m. ·
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The Lancaster County Board of Commissioners hopes a $200 bonus will help convince employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine. County commissioners voted unanimously earlier this week to approve the vaccine incentive. The policy pays Lancaster County employees who prove they’re vaccinated $200 and $50 for a booster.
Board Chairman Rick Vest said they proposed the vaccine incentive a few weeks ago when they saw rising COVID-19 infection rates again. The county doesn’t ask employees for their vaccination status, so they don’t have formal numbers on who is already vaccinated, but Vest said they have heard informally that the number is low.
"We were getting reports from a number of our department heads who were concerned about the percentage of their employees who had chosen not to get the vaccination," he said. "They were surprised at the amount."
Vest said some of the employees deal with the public, like county clerks, or work in confined spaces, like law enforcement officers. There’s about 900 full-time, plus part-time workers serving the county.
The Board Chairman said they chose a vaccine incentive because a mandate wasn't practical and they respect how controversial vaccines are to some employees.
"But, we want to make sure that anybody who's on the fence has one more reason to go forward and get the vaccination," he said.
Vest said the goal is to get as many employees vaccinated as they can. The vaccine incentives will be funded by the federal government’s American Rescue Plan Act and not through property tax dollars. The county could spend up to $267,000 on the vaccine incentive program.
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