Dollar General to pay its workers to get COVID-19 vaccine

Coronavirus Vaccine

Sand bags lay in front of the main doors of a Dollar General in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana on July 12, 2019 in preparation for Tropical Storm Barry. (Photo courtesy of SETH HERALD/AFP via Getty Images)

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Dollar General is offering to pay its employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

The company announced Wednesday that in an effort to remove barriers for those who want to get inoculated, Dollar General will provide frontline hourly team members with a one-time payment equivalent to four hours of regular pay after completing their vaccination. Salaried team members will be offered “additional store hours to accommodate their time away from the store,” the company said.

“We do not have an on-site pharmacy and currently do not have systems in place for employees to receive a vaccine at their work site,” Dollar General said in its statement. “We do not want our employees to have to choose between receiving a vaccine or coming to work, so we are working to remove barriers (e.g., travel time, mileage, child care needs, etc.)”

Even as the U.S. has begun to speed delivery of its coronavirus vaccines, the country is in its deadliest phase of the outbreak. On Wednesday, the U.S. recorded another daily high in coronavirus deaths at more than 4,300, according to Johns Hopkins University.

More than 9.3 million Americans have received their first shot of the vaccine, or less than 3% of the population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is well short of the hundreds of millions who experts say will need to be inoculated to vanquish the outbreak. The CDC reports that more than 27.7 million doses have been distributed across the country.

Dollar General said on Wednesday that it’s also working to make the vaccine accommodations available to employees on their distribution and transportation teams.

“We understand the decision to receive the COVID-19 vaccination is a personal choice, and although we are encouraging employees to take it, we are not requiring them to do so,” the company said in its statement.

Dollar General operates more than 16,900 stores in 46 states, and employs more than 157,000 people, as of the company’s latest reporting.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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