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Four major public Chatham Co. employers offering vaccine incentives to employees

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 6:02 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Four major public employers in Chatham County are collaborating to get more of their employees vaccinated.

The leaders of Chatham Area Transit, the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, the City of Savannah and Chatham County announced Monday they’re each starting a monetary incentive program to boost vaccine numbers.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson commented during Monday’s announcement that each entity, whether the school or transit systems or city or county governments, they each have a huge impact and reach in the community.

And that’s why each organization is committing to giving every employee who’s been vaccinated, or gets vaccinated by a certain date this fall, $500.

“This is an investment in the health and welfare of this community, in totality,” said Chatham County Manager Lee Smith.

CAT, the school system and Chatham County government are using federal relief dollars to fund the effort, while City of Savannah leaders say they’ve found money in their general fund that will cover the cost.

“Those who have been waiting for the right time to become vaccinated, now is the right time,” said SCCPSS Superintendent Dr. Ann Levett.

“We are hoping that they understand the importance of the vaccination, they understand the importance of our unified position and then receive the vaccination, and not think of this as a bonus. Because the real bonus is when we have the safety, health and welfare of others involved, not the monetary value,” said CAT Interim CEO Valerie Ragland.

Each agency will use an independent, third-party firm to verify employees vaccination status, determining if they meet the qualifications for the $500 incentive pay.

Mayor Johnson added that if these public employers can come together to offer an incentive to get more people vaccinated, that more private businesses should step up and do the same.

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