Story at a glance
- Hospital workers must get the vaccine to receive the $500 bonus.
- Boom told the hospital system’s roughly 26,000 employees the vaccine is not mandated at this time but will eventually be required for most workers.
- The hospital also gave employees $500 bonuses about six weeks ago for their work during the pandemic, which has hit Houston particularly hard.
A hospital system in Houston is offering its employees some extra cash if they decide to take a COVID-19 vaccine.
Houston Methodist Hospital President and CEO Marc Boom told staff members in an email last week that they can expect to receive a $500 bonus in early March as a “thank you” for their “perseverance throughout a difficult 2020,” CBS News reports.
Employees must meet certain criteria to receive the bonus.
“Eligibility criteria will include getting a COVID-19 vaccination, fulfilling [Houston Methodist’s] obligation as health care workers to lead the community,” Boom wrote.
Boom told the hospital system’s roughly 26,000 employees the vaccine is not mandated at this time but will eventually be required for most workers.
“We recognize the vital importance of all of us getting vaccinated to protect our patients, our community, ourselves and our family and friends,” Boom said. “Further discussion is ongoing about the small number of employees who cannot safely get the vaccine.”
The hospital also gave employees $500 bonuses about six weeks ago for their work during the pandemic, which has hit Houston particularly hard. The area has reported more than 247,000 cases and nearly 2,700 deaths.
The incentive for hospital employees to take the vaccine comes as vaccination efforts in the U.S. have hit a snag. Reasons for the lag have been attributed to overwhelmed health care facilities due to the coronavirus, reserved vaccine doses for nursing homes and long-term care facilities that have slowed distribution, and reduced hours and limited staffing in clinics because of the recent holidays, according to The New York Times.
The most significant reason for the delay appears to be the fact that federal officials left delivery logistics to local health officials.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. have received their first dose as of Monday with more than 15.4 million doses distributed across the country. That’s dramatically lower than the Trump administration’s goal of giving 20 million people their first dose by the end of December 2020.
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