Individuals may receive $100 grocery gift cards if they get vaccinated fully through the city of Phoenix’s mobile COVID-19 vans. Those interested must register with either Vincere Cancer Center or Premier Lab Solutions, the two health care companies operating the vans. Vaccination will be free, as will be testing.
The city didn’t disclose how many gift cards they would give out in their initial announcement, only saying that the number of gift cards given would continue while supplies lasted. AZ Free News asked the city how many gift cards they were distributing. They didn’t respond by press time.
Phoenix’s move appears to fall in line with the suggestion from President Joe Biden this summer to offer $100 to incentivize vaccinations.
Phoenix will have one to two vaccination vans eligible for the $100 gift card offer at various locations around the Valley. A list of vaccination dates, times, and locations is available on the city’s website.
Like many other cities across the country, Phoenix has relied on monetary incentives or rewards for compliance with encouraged or mandated vaccination. Last December, the city council voted to give its employees bonuses of up to $2,000 for getting vaccinated, costing the city anywhere from $25 to $29 million in federal relief funds.
Other governmental authorities have opted to offer financial incentives for vaccination as well. In December, the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) Governing Board voted to give employees $500 for being vaccinated fully, with $100 for each booster shot. The board reported that these vaccination payments would total approximately $3 to $5.8 million of their federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds.
According to one of the latest special reports from the Arizona Auditor General, school districts and charter schools spent less than 25 percent of their federal relief monies by the end of June. The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) spent far less: they had 95.5 percent of federal relief funds left to spend by the end of June.
Business owners thinking of requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment may want to consider the latest advisory from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
According to OSHA, an employee’s adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine is recordable on the company’s OSHA recordkeeping log if the reaction stems from a work-related, mandated vaccination and the incident meets at least one other recording criteria, such as time away from work, medical treatment beyond basic first aid, or restricted work duties or job transfer.
Despite the advisory to employers, OSHA and other federal agencies have announced efforts to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations in the workplace. That is why OSHA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Labor, does not require employers to report an employee’s adverse reaction to a recommended vaccination, even if the employer pays for or arranges for the vaccination.
“OSHA is exercising its enforcement discretion to only require the recording of adverse effects to required vaccines at this time,” the website reads, adding that the vaccination “must be truly voluntary. For example, an employee’s choice to accept or reject the vaccine cannot affect their performance rating or professional advancement. An employee who chooses not to receive the vaccine cannot suffer any repercussions from this choice.”
In a related matter, OSHA has weighed in on employers requiring employees to sign liability waivers in the event of exposure in the workplace to the SARS virus which causes COVID-19. While the agency does not take a position for or against waivers, its website makes clear that the existence of a waiver does not preclude an employee’s right to file an Occupational Safety and Health Act complaint.
“The worker continues to have the right to file a safety or health complaint under section 8(f) and/or a retaliation complaint under section 11(c), regardless of any language contained in the waiver.”
The OSHA website also provides employers and employees with information about the requirement for reporting in-patient COVID-19 hospitalizations stemming from workplace exposure. Such reporting is only required if the hospitalization occurs within 24 hours of the exposure, according to the website.
Warm weather is here, and in anticipation of ever-increasing temperatures, Arizona’s largest vaccination site at State Farm Stadium will transition to an indoor site at Gila River Arena in Glendale on Friday, April 23.
The State Farm Stadium site will move to nighttime hours starting Monday, April 5, to avoid daytime heat. It will conclude operations the morning of April 23 and move indoors to Gila River Arena, home to the Arizona Coyotes. Operating from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, the new Gila River Arena site will have the capacity to administer 1,000 shots per hour.
An indoor vaccination site at Yuma Civic Center transitioned to a state operation on Monday, March 29, with 8,000 appointments per week initially and capacity for 4,000 appointments a day.
An East Mesa distribution center operated by Dexcom opens Monday, April 5, as the Valley’s first state-run indoor drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination site, replacing the outdoor site currently operating at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. The site will start out offering 3,000-4,000 appointments a day.
The new indoor vaccination site in Glendale will use Gila River Arena’s main concourse to check in and vaccinate patients who have appointments, while the arena’s seats will be available for individuals to spend their 15 or 30 minutes of observation after vaccination.
Vaccine recipients will enter through the venue’s main entrance at Gate 4, and parking at the site will be complimentary.
At 11 a.m. every Friday, ADHS makes appointments available at state-run sites for the following week. Registration for these and many other sites is available at podvaccine.azdhs.gov or by calling 844-542-8201 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Both resources offer assistance in English and Spanish.