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OAKDALE, Calif. (KTXL) – A small independent hospital in Oakdale is making a big push to get its staff vaccinated. 

When healthcare workers at Oak Valley Hospital District were hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine, hospital leadership responded.

“We, of course, became very nervous, not only for their safety but also for our communities,” said hospital president and CEO John McCormick.

McCormick says initially only 40% of his staff of 600 volunteered to be vaccinated.

“It was really stunning to us, disappointing in another way, that more people weren’t getting the vaccine,” McCormick explained.

In an effort to get those numbers up, McCormick says he got the idea to implement an incentive program from another hospital in Texas. 

Oak Valley Hospital is paying out $300 to staff who can show they’ve gotten both vaccine doses. 

“A little enticement there if you will,” McCormick told FOX40.

He says in just the last nine days more staff have been vaccinated. 

“Long story short, we’re over 50% now in compliance, people taking the vaccine,” McCormick said. “It’s been really well received and we’re pretty happy with how it’s working.”

McCormick says the money is a small price to pay to keep his staff and the community healthy. 

“It gives another layer of protection to our staff. We believe in the vaccine,” McCormick told FOX40. “And it also lets our community know that we’re doing everything possible to keep them safe.”

Oak Valley Hospital District says the vaccine incentive program is retroactive so staff who volunteered before it was implemented can also get the $300 payout.