Hoboken, NJ, to pay workers to get COVID vax
Would you take the jab for cash?
While more New Jersey municipalities are mandating a COVID vaccine for thier workers, Hoboken is taking a different approach. Cold, hard, cash.
Hoboken is sitting on more than $13 million in unspent federal aid from the American rescue plan. Mayor Ravi Bhalla proposes using some of that money to boost the vaccination rate among city workers.
The question is: How much?
At Wednesday's council meeting, NJ.com reports Hoboken Business Administrator Jason Freemen told members, "If you're going to incentivize someone to do it, there needs to be a dollar amount worth that incentive."
How about $1,000?
City Hall reports 34% of municipal workers have yet to be vaccinated. The mayor and his council allies argue the $600,000 cost for the incentives is worth it, because it would lower overtime costs incurred when employees get sick.
Councilman Michael Russo agreed, and argued an incentive was better than a mandate
There are questions about who would be eligible for the money. The target is those who have not been vaccinated yet, and can prove vaccination status. There is also talk of giving the money to those who have already been vaccinated. Some council members objected to that, at least not until everyone else had gotten thier shots.
In Hoboken, the city says the police department has among the lowest vaccination rates, with just over half of officers getting inoculated against COVID. It's hoped this would boost those numbers.
Wayne recently announced a vaccine mandate for its police department. The union challenged the issue in court, and lost. A judge said mandate was in the best interest of protecting the welfare of the general public.