As vaccine rollout continues, some researchers say the country has hit a plateau in the number of people being vaccinated. Finding time off work to get vaccinated can be a barrier for many.
Ross Silverman, Indiana University health policy and management professor, said many people want to get vaccinated — but may not be able to take time off work.
“Really, at this point, I think the biggest focus is on helping people figure out where they can get the vaccines and then making sure people have times and places that are appropriate for them to go to get vaccinated,” Silverman said. “They may be worried about going out and taking the time to get themselves or help their family members get the shots.”
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The federal American Rescue Plan includes a program that allows companies with less than 500 employees to apply for a tax credit to give paid time off to employees for vaccine-related appointments.
Silverman said this program can help combat fears workers might have about getting vaccinated. It also covers time off for any possible side effects from the shot.
“If you need to take two half days off, because you've got to go and get your vaccine appointment, and then maybe you have a reaction that makes you just feel lousy for 24 hours and need a day off, this program will allow employers to get a tax credit for giving that time off to their employees,” Silverman said. “So that's, I think, could be a game changer for people.”
Silverman said this program can be a benefit to an entire community.
“Giving people this time off helps protect employees, it helps protect other people who come to the workplace, it helps protect those families,” he said.
Eligible employers can claim the tax credit for paid sick leave from April 1 through Sept. 30. Self-employed individuals may also claim the credit.