Kroger CEO: Why every company should incentivize employees to get the Covid-19 vaccine

New York lifted some mask and social distancing mandates for vaccinated people and eased capacity limits for businesses. CNN's Clare Sebastian reports.

Posted: May 21, 2021 3:25 PM
Updated: May 24, 2021 8:45 AM


This past year called for many of us to meet the greatest challenge of our lifetimes. Covid-19 changed how we live, when and how we see our friends and family, where we work and even how we shop.

At Kroger, it has changed how we approach nearly every aspect of our business. We had to reimagine selling groceries, because it wasn't just about the groceries anymore. It was about safeguarding our nearly half a million associates and 11 million daily customers; managing our ever-changing and often challenged supply chain; and accelerating our e-commerce services to provide fresh food through low-touch or no-touch shopping.

Now, with almost 39% of Americans fully vaccinated, we're anticipating life's slow return to normal. To better protect ourselves and our communities, we must all do our part to get vaccinated and to encourage others to do the same.

Unfortunately, misinformation about the vaccine's safety and efficacy continues to spread, leaving many still hesitant — and even reluctant — to get it. About a quarter of US adults have said they will not try to get the vaccine. That's why companies like mine must play a role in making sure employees understand the benefits of getting the vaccine, and also incentivize their employees to do so.

We will see an increase in full vaccinations and a steady decrease in Covid-19 cases if we create widespread trust in the vaccine. Most importantly, we'll all be able to socialize and be safely together much sooner, not only in our grocery stores, but also in our restaurants, churches, small businesses, stadiums and homes. This is where businesses come in. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, businesses are among the most trusted institutions in American life.

Business leaders have a social responsibility to lead with facts and act with empathy. At Kroger, we've found that our associates became less hesitant about vaccinations after we offered a financial incentive of $100 and provided consistent, factual information from trusted authorities about vaccine efficacy and safety.

For many, receiving the vaccine may require time off work, travel time or childcare. By offering solutions with financial support, it makes the decision to get vaccinated less of a burden. To help address these practical challenges, our family of companies is awarding a $100 payment to each associate who becomes fully vaccinated.

Beyond rewards, education is key. There are unfortunate misconceptions and skepticism about the vaccines, so being proactive with employees and sharing the facts about the science is extremely important.

We also launched a content series featuring Kroger's chief medical officer, Dr. Marc Watkins, who shares his professional opinion, answers employees' questions and offers a good dose of myth-busting facts to help people make an educated vaccination decision. And our leaders are sharing their confidence in the vaccine, their personal vaccination experience and also their 'why' — the often deeply personal reason they chose to get vaccinated, whether it's to spend time with aging parents, to protect a spouse who is a cancer survivor or to safeguard customers and each other.

Kroger is proud to play a lead role in helping America's vaccination effort. We deeply appreciate the many scientists, medical professionals and innovators who have created safe and effective vaccines. Because of them, we're getting closer to normalcy. As of today, Kroger's pharmacists and health care technicians have distributed 4.3 million Covid-19 vaccines — and that number continues to grow daily.

The best thing that can happen over the next couple of months is for as many people as possible to receive the vaccine. I encourage all employers to lead by example and, where possible, to incentivize their employees. More shots in arms will rapidly bring us closer to our normal lives, hugging our loved ones and building our path forward together.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 515208

Reported Deaths: 10290
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34981557
DeSoto33342432
Hinds32718643
Jackson24896391
Rankin22553404
Lee16439245
Madison14949283
Jones14155248
Forrest13829260
Lauderdale12305324
Lowndes11348193
Lamar10687140
Pearl River9739244
Lafayette8867143
Hancock7847132
Washington7555169
Oktibbeha7228138
Monroe7055179
Pontotoc7026110
Warren6883178
Panola6783135
Neshoba6740210
Marshall6705142
Bolivar6468151
Union642898
Pike5941157
Alcorn5912107
Lincoln5539136
George510680
Prentiss507785
Tippah495483
Itawamba4877107
Scott478799
Adams4775125
Tate4774117
Leflore4747144
Copiah458095
Yazoo457892
Simpson4565117
Wayne443472
Covington434895
Sunflower4318106
Marion4295112
Coahoma4243109
Leake414090
Newton396082
Tishomingo386194
Grenada3786109
Stone365966
Jasper341266
Attala339590
Winston317992
Chickasaw317667
Clay312778
Clarke301695
Calhoun286349
Holmes272589
Smith269952
Yalobusha244647
Tallahatchie232353
Greene225149
Walthall222166
Lawrence220241
Perry214456
Amite210257
Webster206548
Noxubee188843
Montgomery182157
Carroll175241
Jefferson Davis174043
Tunica163539
Benton153239
Kemper145441
Choctaw137027
Claiborne134639
Humphreys132239
Franklin126430
Quitman107828
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson96934
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 847064

Reported Deaths: 16157
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1163702006
Mobile743001381
Madison53394737
Shelby38395371
Baldwin38140589
Tuscaloosa36096642
Montgomery34535782
Lee25639264
Calhoun22620519
Morgan22503408
Etowah20043520
Marshall18812317
Houston17754425
St. Clair16928358
Limestone16178220
Cullman16113304
Elmore15927295
Lauderdale15042307
Talladega14234301
DeKalb13033270
Walker12119380
Blount10756193
Autauga10531157
Jackson10191195
Coffee9431192
Colbert9356210
Dale9035192
Tallapoosa7283202
Russell709665
Chilton7077170
Escambia6961144
Covington6956195
Franklin6355108
Chambers5791142
Marion5428130
Dallas5299210
Pike5124109
Clarke485586
Lawrence4841130
Winston4784110
Geneva4649136
Bibb435294
Barbour370080
Butler3445101
Marengo342793
Monroe338066
Randolph337367
Pickens334689
Fayette331385
Henry320866
Cherokee319563
Hale318589
Crenshaw261577
Washington256852
Cleburne255460
Lamar253355
Clay251669
Macon245465
Conecuh193262
Coosa185647
Lowndes178268
Wilcox178138
Bullock152545
Perry141840
Sumter139741
Greene130245
Choctaw93328
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