Democratic Pennsylvania governor offers state employees week of paid leave to get vaccine

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (D) is now offering state employees five days of paid leave to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as a new initiative to increase vaccination rates. 

About 70,000 people are eligible for the offer, according to the Associated Press, and state workers who are already vaccinated will automatically get the leave added to their time off. The leave can be taken between December 20 and March 31.

The state treasurer was not happy with Wolf for making the offer because of the anticipated cost of the initiative.

“This leave will help incentivize the vaccinations that protect commonwealth employees and the Pennsylvanians we serve,” the administration told employees. “It’s one more way we can show our gratitude to employees who step up to help us protect our communities and bring this pandemic to an end.”

More time off

The five-day offer is an increase from the current one day of paid time off that had been offered to employees. Some people have side effects from the vaccine that can last one or several days, including chills, fatigue, and mild flu-like symptoms.

On Friday, Wolf reported that 72% of eligible Pennsylvanians have been fully vaccinated, and 91% had received at least one vaccine dose.

Pennsylvania ranks sixth in the percentage of first doses of vaccine administered, but is in the top 10 of total cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

Other incentives

Other states are also giving incentives for people to get COVID vaccines. In June, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice (R) gave away guns to those who got vaccinated.

Minnesota Governor Tim Waltz (D) is giving $200 Visa gift cards to teens who get vaccinated in the state.

President Joe Biden has authorized states to use COVID relief funds to give $100 payments to those who get vaccines. Various states have offered raffles and lotteries up to $1 million for getting the vaccine.

Vaccine booster shots have now been approved for many who were fully vaccinated six months or more ago, but no data yet shows how many people have gotten them. Anyone who got two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of Johnson & Johnson is still considered fully vaccinated at this point.

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