Coronavirus: Expert wary of 'cash for jab' incentive schemes as COVID-19 vaccine given approval

As businesses overseas begin programmes to pay their employees to get a COVID-19 vaccination, one employment lawyer is cautioning Kiwi companies about similar tactics.

It comes after Medsafe gave provisional approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Wednesday, but the Government has not disclosed when the shipment of 750,000 doses will arrive.

In the United States, chain discount retailer Dollar General is rewarding workers who get the vaccine with a one-time payment equivalent to four hours of pay, and one hospital is putting employees who receive the jab into a prize draw.

While New Zealand's response to the pandemic so far has been considered the best in the world by some, could it be time to consider incentives when it comes to the vaccine rollout? Employment lawyer Bridget Smith is wary of such schemes.

"The thing I would say to bear in mind is you need to be careful you're not stepping into bribery or blackmail-type territory," she told The Project.

After the first vaccine was approved, some Kiwi businesses started brainstorming and exploring their options.

"We'll try to do something to make it more of an event, so if we can get a nurse to come in and vaccinate all of the people at the same time, then that would be great," Tim Clark, creative director of digital studio Transformative, says.

"Maybe a couple of hours off in the day, maybe we throw on pizzas and have a little vaccination party of some sort."

But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern believes the best incentive is looking after each other.

"The sooner we have more New Zealanders vaccinated, the sooner we can get back to normal, and what better incentive than protecting one another," she says.

Watch the video above.