Filipino-American grocer Island Pacific Market is encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations among its workforce by offering extra pay and free rides for all employees who get inoculated.
Walnut, Calif.-based Island Pacific said this week that it will offer up to four hours of paid time off to associates who receive a coronavirus vaccine. Also, through the assistance of the National Asian American Coalition (NAAC), Lyft will give each Island Pacific employees a $25 free ride for their vaccination appointment.
Filipino-Americans account for 30% of COVID-related deaths, Island Pacific reported, citing a recent study. Given the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on this population segment, the grocery chain said it aims to remove potential barriers to immunizations, such as transportation and the cost of time off from work.
“The Filipino grocery store is the central hub of our community and, in order for Filipinos to be on the road to immunity against COVID-19, we must make every effort to get our employees vaccinated — especially when it is our turn, for the sake of our family, friends and loved ones,” Nino Jeff Lim, founder and CEO of Island Pacific, said in a statement.
Island Pacific noted that the COVID vaccine incentive program has been in effect since coronavirus shots became available to food and agriculture workers, and the company has urged the majority of its workers to get vaccinated. Overall, the retailer operates 16 supermarket in California and Las Vegas.
“By helping Asian grocery stores like Island Pacific get vaccinated,” NAAC Executive Director Faith Bautista commented, “we can slow the spread of the virus and protect our community, who are disparagingly affected by COVID.”
Through April 8, 33.7% of the U.S. population had received at least one dose, and 19.9% had been fully vaccinated, with 174.9 million vaccines administered of the 229.4 million delivered by manufacturers, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.