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Oakdale Hospital Offering $300 To Employees Who Get Vaccinated

OAKDALE (CBS13) — We've already seen many hesitating before vaccinating. Even some frontline workers are resisting it.

That's what prompted local hospital officials to come up with the idea to pay their workers to get the shots.

When the COVID-19 vaccine became available, Dean Berghorst didn't hesitate to roll up his sleeve.

"You know I care about spending time with my family and getting back to normal now,"  said Berghorst.

A 54-year-old EMT with Oak Valley Hospital District in Oakdale, Berghorst knows the risk he takes every day.

"I think it's the whole frontline force. We're being exposed as part of our jobs daily," said Berghorst.

But not all of his co-workers are on board with the vaccine. Only 40% of the employees at Oak Valley Hospital initially signed up to get the shots.

That's when hospital officials decided to offer $300 incentives to workers with documentation showing they got the second dose.

"We want our employees to stay safe and we believe in the vaccine," said CEO John McCormick.

McCormick says they got the idea after seeing another hospital in Texas using cash incentives to encourage workers to get vaccinated. He stands by the idea.

"You know you're putting a value on safety. People's lives are at stake," McCormick told CBS13.

McCormick points out concerns with so many workers hesitating to get vaccinated when they anticipate a post-holiday surge.

"We don't look at it as bribing. We look at it more as care and a positive incentive," said McCormick.

EMT Berghorst appreciates it, especially after long hours with staff stretched thin during the stress of a pandemic.

"It's important that they're showing appreciation for all that we're doing by giving us that extra money and for me, it's grateful. It keeps me coming to work," said Berghorst.

"They incur some costs to come get the second vaccine with childcare and transportation. It's a good win-win situation and it is working," said McCormick.

They're only into the first week offering the cash incentive, but already more have signed up for the vaccine.

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