Instacart to pay its New York City shoppers $25 COVID-19 vaccine stipend

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Instacart will give its shoppers a $25 stipend to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Grocery delivery service app Instacart is giving its workers a $25 stipend to allow them to take time off and get vaccinated against COVID-19, the company’s head announced Thursday.

“Our goal with the introduction of our new Vaccine Support Stipend is to ensure that, when the time comes, Instacart shoppers don’t have to choose between earning income as an essential service provider or getting vaccinated,” said Instacart founder and chief executive officer Apoorva Mehta in a statement on Jan. 14. “Since the start of the pandemic, the health and safety of the entire Instacart community has been our top priority.”

The payment will be available to shift leads, in-store shoppers, and full-service shoppers starting Feb. 1, according to the company which allows customers to order grocery deliveries and pick-ups via their app in the United States and Canada.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 500,000 of its shoppers have fulfilled millions of orders across the country, and the company has provided some 620,000 free personal protective equipment kits to its workers to date, including reusable face masks and hand sanitizer, according to Instacart.

As infections rise across the country, the tech firm is eager to get government agencies to recognize its shoppers as essential workers who deserve early access to the vaccines, Mehta added.

“As the fight against COVID-19 stretches into 2021, we’re committed to supporting our shoppers and continuing to serve as a lifeline for millions of people across North America,” the CEO said. “With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise across the country, we’re taking proactive steps to advocate that government agencies recognize Instacart shoppers as critical essential workers who deserve early access to vaccines.”