A senior living community in the Phoenix area says it will offer a bonus for staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - While a lot of people are more than ready to roll up their sleeves, eager to get a coronavirus vaccine, that’s not always the case.

One Valley senior living community came up with a solution, when not enough of their staff was lining up to get the shot, by offering a $250 bonus incentive.

Since the start of the vaccine rollout, Shari John, a nurse with Sun Health, which operates three long-term care facilities across the Valley, has stood on the sidelines.

“Just at first, it was just kind of how fast it came out. I was like, OK, did they just throw it together,” said Nurse John.

Her biggest fear for not wanting to get vaccinated was the possibility of long-term side effects.

“Something could happen to me. I have kids, a family, or something happens to me and I can’t work,” said John.

A recent survey by a health care policy nonprofit, Kaiser Family Foundation, found that 29% of health care workers across the U.S. share those same concerns as Nurse John.

“We were worried we were going to lose momentum,” said Tahlya Visintainer.

Visintainer with Sun Health says at first they had a rush of employees, voluntarily sign up but that soon faded.

“Really to tell them that they have to get the vaccine didn’t feel like the right message for Sun Health,” said Visintainer.

Not wanting to mandate the shot— Sun Health decided to offer their staff an incentive: money.

“Amazon had come out of at $700 at some crazy number. We were like, that’s out of our price range. One hundred didn’t seem like the right amount and so $250 had that right amount,” said Visintainer.

“$250 dollars yes, it was nice. I thought was that was awesome that our work did that. They want us to be safe and also to be safe for the patients. Money motivates people,” said John.

Nurse Shari John

John said her decision to get vaccinated ultimately came down to wanting to protect her patients.

John said her decision to get vaccinated ultimately came down to wanting to protect her patients.

“You kind of become family with them. You see them all the time,” said John.

But the bonus was nice.

“The money will help. You know, sometimes we don’t have patients, so sometimes we don’t have as much hours,” said John.


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