The health network, which has 15 locations across Illinois, is offering $150 bonuses to employees who get the vaccine – an initiative that other U.S. health facilities and companies like ALDI Grocery Stores, Trader Joe's and Dollar General have implemented as states roll out the first phases of distribution.
"To ensure we're doing everything we can to encourage people to get the vaccine, BRIA is putting our money where our mouth is. We're offering a $150 COVID 'safety bonus' for each BRIA employee who has received both steps of the two-step vaccination," Natalie Bauer Luce, spokeswoman for BRIA Health Services, told Fox Business.
She added that each BRIA facility that vaccinates at least 75% of its faculty will also get a catered meal for all shifts, and facilities that reach a 100% vaccination compliance rate for all department heads will get "an extra paid day off and a team lunch."
"The vaccine is the most effective weapon in our fight against COVID-19 so BRIA is committed to doing everything it can to help our staff and residents make informed decisions and get the vaccine to help us get back to some semblance of normal," Bauer Luce said. "The safety of our employees and residents is paramount."
The CDC and FDA are recommending states offer COVID-19 vaccines to health care workers and nursing home residents before other frontline workers.
Federal officials expect that vaccine doses will be limited for several months. CDC officials said in December that as many as 50 million vaccine doses could be distributed in February alone, but the rollout has been somewhat slower than expected.
So far, however, only 31 million doses have been distributed since they began rolling out in December, and about 12.3 million doses have been administered, according to data from the CDC.
There won’t be enough shots for the general population until spring, so doses will be rationed at least for the next several months. President-elect Joe Biden pledged earlier this month to have 100 million doses distributed in his first 100 days in office, and his surgeon general nominee said Sunday that it’s still a realistic goal.
Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, expressed concern that health care workers were opting out of vaccinations during a Jan. 6 press briefing.
"I am definitely concerned that health care workers are electing to wait to get vaccinated," Messonnier said. "To me, it really makes it exceedingly important that we get correct information to health care workers and that we quickly dispense with myths and misinformation."
Messonnier acknowledged that many concerns stem from the quick rollout of the vaccine, which the Food and Drug Administration authorized and the CDC recommended over the holidays.
"We need to make sure that health care workers have the right information," she said. "These are safe and effective vaccines. We have good data to show that. ... These are the vaccines that can help us all end this pandemic."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.