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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Shapiro’s Deli offering vaccine incentives for employees

Besides a financial incentive, the owner helps staff schedule vaccination appointments and offers to drive them.

INDIANAPOLIS — Interest in the COVID-19 vaccine is dropping across parts of the country. Now, we're seeing incentives popping up for people who get their shot, like free donuts, tickets to next year's Super Bowl, beer and even cash.  

In Indianapolis, the owner of the historic Shapiro’s Delicatessen is offering $50 to his employees if they get vaccinated. 

He even helps employees schedule appointments and offers to drive them if they need a ride.  

It’s an easy method that is working, with more than 90 percent of his 40-person staff already vaccinated.  

“The vast majority of our employees have been here for a long time and it’s family. When they look at the boss and the family of the boss being vaccinated, there’s a comfort level there,” said owner Brian Shapiro. “We want to make sure we keep everybody safe who works for us - and the public safe.” 

Credit: WTHR/Lauren Kostiuk

Shapiro said he doesn’t want to force anybody to get the shot, but rather encourage them. He said Marion County health officials should also work on finding methods to motivate more Hoosiers to sign up. 

Credit: WTHR/Lauren Kostiuk

“(The incentive) is to get people motivated to do it, to get them to come, and there are ways of doing it,” Shapiro said.  

With many downtown offices still empty, the incentive program could help get vaccinated employees back into buildings. If they are not coming back, Shapiro said they need to sublease space to allow different companies to open, saying downtown needs the business back.  

Employers may also get the opportunity to offer workplace vaccine clinics for their employees. The state announced plans in March to coordinate "on-site" vaccinations for businesses across Indiana.  

The original goal was to roll out these clinics to some employers in April and then expand to all interested businesses in May. We reached out to the state health department Thursday to check if this rollout is still on track. We haven't heard back.