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Some local businesses incentivizing employees to get vaccinated

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Posted at 7:22 PM, May 03, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS — More than half the adults in the United States have gotten at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine. As companies begin to think about bringing their employees back into the office, some are realizing vaccinations are a part of that.

A staple in Indianapolis for 116 years, Brian Shapiro is incentivizing his employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“We are a part of the community and it’s important that my employees feel safe and customers are safe and people have a feeling that it’s safe,” Shapiro, owner of Shapiro’s Delicatessen, said. “Anybody that gets a shot, I give them $50. Second of all, I actually help people sign up.”

He signs them up for their appointment right there on the restaurant computer, and will even drive his employees to their appointments.

“We provide people with rides because if you’re not familiar with the site, it’s a little confusing and you’re not sure what’s going to happen,” he said.

“At least at the start, it’s incentives that might be what we see employers do because there is a moral cost to a mandate,” said Dr. Kosali Simon, an Indiana University professor in the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

Simon said companies might be more inclined to offer incentives for vaccinations instead of requiring it. But larger entities like universities need to plan ahead for the fall semester.

So we’re seeing some take a stricter stance in mandating vaccines versus smaller businesses, like Shapiro’s, which are able to be more relaxed in hopes of eventually reaching herd immunity.

“Businesses have to be aware of the context they’re making these decisions,” Simon said. “It’s not just what we believe is right, but what is good for us overall? Our standing in the community, morale, and how the community functions with the employer. All of that is really important and goes into decisions.”

“It’s important that we contribute and we make an effort,” Shapiro said.