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Cigna offers workers $200 and paid time off to get vaccinated

Biden says U.S. has reached vaccine milestone
President Biden says the country has reached goal of administering 200 million vaccine doses 08:47

Cigna on Thursday joined other major corporations looking to coax workers into getting the COVID-19 vaccine by offering its roughly 65,000 U.S. employees $200 each and paid time off to get the shots.

Fully vaccinated workers will get $200 in their health-spending accounts, along with emergency PTO to get vaccinated, according to the health insurance company, which is not requiring employees to get immunized.

The U.S. is administering just over 3 million vaccine doses a day, with the country averaging roughly 67,000 new infections daily. More than 50% of adults have received at least their first shot, and more than 34% are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

"Even as vaccination rates increase, we are in a race against more contagious variants," Dr. Steve Miller, Cigna's chief clinical officer, said in a statement. Insurance rival Anthem said earlier this month that it would give vaccinated employees a credit toward their health premiums. 

Nearly 570,000 Americans have died of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

Fauci says COVID vaccines are key to "normalcy" amid vaccine hesitancy 04:51

Many Americans remain reluctant or unwilling to get vaccinated, and progress on overcoming that skepticism has stalled of late, according to Morning Consult, which surveys more than 30,000 people each week on the topic.

Across the U.S., 48% of Black Americans are uncertain or unwilling to get the vaccine, along with 50% of women with children at home, the data intelligence company found. Vaccine skepticism is highest in Mississippi, at 30%, and lowest in Connecticut, at 13%, it added.

Taking unpaid time off to get vaccinated could be a barrier for lower-wage workers living paycheck-to-paycheck. Companies including Walmart, Target, Kroger and Publix are offering cash and other incentives to entice employees to get immunized.

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