Erie County residents and County Council members respond to vaccine incentive plan

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Erie County residents are struggling over the incentive plan and let county council know they are not happy.

It was not a big crowd at the Erie County Council meeting on Tuesday night, but the residents that spoke were not pleased.

The plan to give vaccinated Erie County employees $300 is seen by some as the cause of a problem, not a cure.

Any Erie County employees who receive a COVID vaccine before the end of the year can apply to receive $300 and this would be funded by ARP.

This left residents shaking their heads.

“Tax payer dollars which comes from the COVID relief fund was given to Erie County but only given to Erie County employees. That doesn’t seem right,” said Andy Prischak, Erie County Resident.

Residents took any opportunity they could to speak up against this incentive.

Some residents said that they didn’t get enough chances to talk to council before the plan was passed.

“It was supposed to be voted on tonight but they kind of snuck it in as a special meeting. It’s kind of like having a favorite child which isn’t fair to the other children,” said Andy Prischak, Erie County Resident.

“Give it to people on the front lines. Give it to people who are in the restaurant. Give it to people who are really struggling, but Erie County employees it just smells funny,” said Lou Norman, Erie County Resident.

All of this led up to one question that one resident wanted an answer to.

“I asked them can you tell me what percentage of county employees have been vaccinated before you voted to give a reward to those who had an award to those if they would,” said Sue Webber, Erie County Resident.

“We are over 50% and the number is increasing because people are getting vaccinated now because of the incentive. We were at 53% and we were stalled at that number,” said Carl Anderson, Chairman of Erie County Council.

On a four to three vote Brian Shank was one of the no votes.

“I don’t need $300 to say you need to get your shot. I already did it. I am going to take that money and donate it to the Veterans Miracle Network here in Erie,” said Brian Shank, Erie County Councilman.

Anderson said that the incentive plan will save taxpayers money in the long run because if more employees are getting vaccinated then it will lessen the amount of money on medical expenses.

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