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City won't offer incentives for vaccinations
Chastain, Ryle.jpg
Chastain, Ryle

There will be no incentive for employees of McMinnville city government to be vaccinated against COVID-19. 

McMinnville Mayor Ryle Chastain, during the Aug. 10 Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting, suggested city officials consider offering an incentive for city employees to roll up their sleeves and take the vaccine. At that time, he tossed out the possibility of a day off work, or maybe two, but did not have a cost estimate.

Numbers were available during the city board’s session Tuesday night.

“I had human resources run the numbers,” said Chastain. “This would be if every single employee of the city did it. It would cost the city about $35,000 for them to get one day off and $70,000 for two days off. That is an amount of money that I cannot ask the taxpayers to pay. That is not fair to them.”

Chastain also cited other incentive options, such as offering small cash payments, providing gift cards or entering employees into lotteries for $500 gift cards, but dispelled each as “something I cannot ask the taxpayers to pay for.” 

Chastain expressed his belief that Pfizer’s two-dose COVID-19 vaccine gaining full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week will be an incentive for some. 

“I think that will pave the way,” said Chastain. “A lot more people may be apt to get it since it has undergone all the strenuous oversight to get approved.”

The vaccine had initially been given emergency use authorization. Its two-dose vaccine is now fully approved for those 16 and older. 

Chastain asked for feedback from the board. 

Alderman Rachel Kirby stated, “I would like to see everyone vaccinated, but I agree, we can’t afford this.”

Chattanooga is giving $100 to get vaccinated and it goes into a sweepstakes once monthly for $1,000.

“What do we pay when someone is out sick?” asked Vice Mayor Everett Brock. “There is a cost to not doing it as well. I don’t have any objection. I’m just saying there’s an offset.”

Kirby replied, “I guess if you need time off, you’ll use your sick time and then your vacation time.”

“I don’t think we should incentivize it,” said Alderman Steve Harvey.

The discussion regarding an incentive for city government employees to be vaccinated ended.