With the U.S. racing towards having 75% of its residents receiving the COVID-19 vaccination by the summer, a national effort is underway to assist people to receive their immunizations.

In a deadly contest against a virus that’s killed more than 500,000 Americans, aided now by a looming variant that recently arrived by way of the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa, companies are providing incentives for their employees to obtain the vaccination.

Tyson Foods, the nation’s biggest poultry producer, announced in February it would offer its 120,000 workers up to four hours of regular pay if they are vaccinated. Nearly 2,000 Tyson employees have been vaccinated to date.

Additional companies including Target, Aldi, McDonald’s, Trader Joe’s, Darden Restaurants and Dollar General have promised employees up to four hours of extra pay for getting their shots. The yogurt maker Chobani is paying workers up to six hours to get vaccinated, while Amtrak is spending $3 million to give employees two hours of extra pay once they show they’ve been vaccinated.

Target, with 350,000 workers in the U.S., said it would pay for Lyft rides up to $15 each way for employees to get to vaccination appointments. The company is working with CVS Health to offer vaccines to employees in its stores.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), employers are required to ensure a safe workplace in which “an individual shall not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of individuals in the workplace.” In most cases, a company is required to have its workforce vaccinated.

Kroger, the nation’s largest supermarket chain, is offering workers $100 to get vaccinated. Lidl, which runs 125 grocery stores across nine states, is offering $200 to employees who get the vaccine. Petco is offering its 26,000 workers $75 and grocery delivery service Instacart is offering $25.

The idea of giving potentially reluctant employees a financial incentive to get vaccinated also extends to the medical industry, with Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas planning to pay its 26,000 workers an extra $500 to get vaccinated.

The race against the advancing COVID-19 variant could be hampered by a large swath of Americans who say they do not want or need the vaccine. According to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll, one-third of Americans say they will not get the vaccine.

If that number doesn’t budge in the next several months, the variant could spread unchecked through certain demographics to include people under 40 and lower-income residents, with potentially devastating consequences.

For information on your state’s COVID-19 availability, please go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html.

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