MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - There are about 20 Dollar General Stores in the Memphis area and with no on-site pharmacies, corporate headquarters in Goodlettsville, Tennessee announced Tuesday hourly employees will receive up to four hours of regular pay to go take the COVID-19 vaccine.
Vaccination is encouraged, but not mandated.
Grocery and other food distribution workers are considered high-risk workers since they come into close contact with the public daily.
“Grocery workers fell in line with frontline medical workers and first responders as the heroes of the pandemic to keep the food supply moving,” said Rob Ikard with the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association.
Ikard says he and his team are working with Governor Bill Lee’s administration and the state health department to get grocery workers moved up the vaccination priority list.
Currently, grocery workers are near the bottom of the list.
”Grocery store workers are in phase three which is the last level before the general public, at the same level of prioritization as inmates in Tennessee penitentiaries. We believe grocery workers are critical infrastructure,” said Ikard
Ikard is lobbying to move grocery workers to phase 2a along with social workers, engineers and those in public transit.
Currently, the demand for vaccines is incredibly high.
“Yes, I plan to get it because I’m going to take my chance with the vaccine instead of COVID-19,” said Memphis resident Shirley Woods.
Shelby County reports they have already allotted all of their vaccines for the rest of the month.
Once it becomes available to grocery workers, major companies like Kroger and Walmart say at this point getting the vaccine for their employees is encouraged but optional.