Institutions and incentives: What businesses and universities are doing to promote the COVID-19 vaccine

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Allisa Pandit

Junior Allisa Pandit holds up her vaccine card after getting her COVID-19 vaccine at Camden Park.

Ramya Subramaniam, Student Life Editor

As summer is approaching, vaccination requirements for who qualifies for the COVID-19 vaccine are slowly easing and more Americans are able to receive their shots.

Iowa recently opened vaccines to anyone who is age 16 and older. While many are jumping at the opportunity to get their vaccine, there are still many people who are hesitant to receive the vaccine.

Many businesses and institutions have recognized this hesitation and are creating incentives for people to take the vaccine, which is expected to protect people from the coronavirus. 

Stores like Kroger, Aldi, Target and Trader Joes are offering incentives to their employees, giving them bonuses when they get the vaccine.

Many of these employees have been front-line and essential workers since the beginning of the pandemic. Companies want to make sure their staff is as protected as possible as they continue to work everyday. The bonus incentive encourages all employees to take their dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Senior Paulina Garza works at The Red Apple, a local daycare center in Bettendorf, Iowa, and has received both doses of the vaccine. Though her employer did not give any incentives, she believes incentives are effective in getting employees to take the vaccine. “It definitely will encourage hesitant employees because especially right now many people struggle with money and could really use those bonuses,” she said. 

College institutions are also joining the incentive wagon by encouraging students to take the COVID-19 vaccine. Many universities like Duke, Georgetown, Cornell and more are requiring students to have the vaccine to attend in-person classes next fall. Though not all universities have set the vaccine requirement in place, it is expected that the list of universities setting it will grow.

Senior Gayathri Pundi will be starting college at an undecided university next fall and believes that this decision by many universities is a step in the right direction. “I think it’s a very practical and reasonable decision. Although individuals may have their own preferences about taking the vaccine, I think this will benefit the campus community as a whole,” she commented.

This year, universities and colleges have seen numerous COVID-19 outbreaks as students continue to party and meet up with friends, with little to no respect for social distancing guidelines. These institutions are hoping to avoid this problem next school year by having students take the vaccine before coming to campus. 

“This [vaccine requirement] definitely makes me feel more safe. Not only do I want that authentic college experience my first year, but having to worry about contracting the virus while making this huge transition from high school doesn’t sound appealing at all,” Pundi reflected.

Before the pandemic, many universities already required a set of vaccines, including the Measles and Hepatitis B shots, for every student. Therefore, requiring a COVID-19 vaccine in addition to the others does not violate any laws, guidelines or rights. 

Colleges and universities are hoping to bring back in-person classes and routines for all students. As the vaccine rollout continues to increase, institutions are hoping students will take the vaccine, so they can return to in-person learning.

Colleges, universities and businesses are part of the push to make sure everyone takes the COVID-19 vaccine. After one year of the pandemic, many people are looking to the vaccine to bring back a sense of normalcy to everyone’s lives.