Acworth will give its employees $200 to get vaccinated for the coronavirus.

Mayor Tommy Allegood said the proposal was not spurred by vaccine hesitancy among city staff, but as an extension of the city's existing wellness program and to create a "sense of urgency" among employees over getting vaccinated. 

"Our number one priority is to keep our employees and our citizens safe, so this is just an extension of (that), of a philosophy that we believe is so important," Allegood said. "We don't want anything that would deter our folks from getting that vaccine. We want to create a sense of urgency, again, to be able to just to keep everybody safe and healthy and on the job."

The Acworth City Council approved the measure in a unanimous vote last week.

Polls have shown a substantial number of Americans are wary of the coronavirus vaccine. While some municipalities around the country have struggled to administer the vaccine for lack of demand, Georgia's state-run vaccine sign-up website crashed Monday morning due to overwhelming demand. 

Acworth has about 165 employees, according to Allegood. Those in its police department are already being vaccinated, he said, and anyone over 65 years old is eligible for vaccination as of Monday. 

Employees will be eligible for the payout after receiving their second dose. For full efficacy, the vaccine must be administered in two doses three weeks apart. 

About 5% of the city's workforce has been out with the coronavirus at any given time, Allegood estimated, but never to a degree that has impacted city services, he stressed. 

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