In the US, COVID-19 vaccines are free, but it turns out that money is still a big barrier to vaccination.
See, even though the vaccines don’t cost a thing, it still takes time to go and get a shot and potentially recover from any side effects. For working adults, that may mean taking time off work — and that isn’t something that everyone can afford to do.
Black and Hispanic people are particularly concerned about the tradeoff between missing work and getting the vaccine, according to new results from
research published by the Kaiser Family Foundation this week. People in both demographics are more likely than their white counterparts to work lower-paying jobs, which may not offer as much paid leave for things like illness.
Those results provide a pretty clear way forward for pushing the vaccination rate up. If businesses want their employees to get vaccinated, they should pay them for it. Or states can require businesses to provide paid leave — like New York, which now guarantees employees up to four hours paid leave
to get vaccinated.
Employees, unsurprisingly, like this idea. Among unvaccinated employed adults, a decent percentage of people said they’d be more likely to get a vaccine if their employer offered a bonus or paid time off. Some also said they’d be more likely to get the vaccine if employers brought the vaccine to work. These methods would especially be effective among Hispanic employees, the researchers found.