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Orangeburg to pay city employees $500 to get COVID vaccine shot

City council members approved an incentive to pay city and DPU employees $500 to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 15.

ORANGEBURG, S.C. — The City of Orangeburg is trying to get more of its employees like Ryan Muth to get the COVID-19 shot. 

"I got vaccinated about a month ago," said Muth, City of Orangeburg's Grant Specialist.

City council members approved an incentive to pay city and DPU employees $500 to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 15, and a hazard pay stipend in the amount of $1,000 for frontline workers.

"As we found out, that is the best way to slow down the spread of the coronavirus," said Sidney Evering, City Administrator.

Orangeburg's City Administrator says the money is coming from the Cares Funds Act, which Orangeburg is expected to receive $6.3 million. Evering says that's going to help about 400 workers.

"About a week or two ago, we were at 66 percent," Evering said. "That number has increased about 73 percent. We're hoping to get up to 80 percent by Nov. 15."

"Seventy-three percent is a lot, but 80 percent is safer," said Muth. "The more people getting vaccinated, the safer people are. It's not just about me; it's about the people around me."

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Employees have to be employed with the city for at least six months and show proof that they are fully vaccinated. Muth has been working as the city's grant specialist for about four months, so he's not eligible to get the incentive. However, the grant specialist is encouraging his unvaccinated colleagues to think about others.

"I'm not looking to not being able to work for two weeks," Muth said. "It is just a problem I don't want to have to deal with. Getting the vaccine makes that problem so much less likely."

The city administrator says employees who have already been vaccinated are also eligible to receive the incentive.

RELATED: Orangeburg County to pay teachers and school nurses an extra $1,000 per semester