New COVID-19 vaccine incentives for Orange County employees approved

The Orange County Commission on Tuesday approved new incentives for getting the COVID-19 vaccine which applies to eligible county employees.

With these new incentives, any county employee who is vaccinated and submitted their vaccination by August 31st will receive a $250 bonus and a paid day off. Those who get the vaccine after that date will receive one day off with pay before the end of October.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings is requiring all employees to get the vaccine.

However, members of the Orange County Fire Rescue said they don’t want a vaccine mandate and don’t want to lose their job because they chose not to get vaccinated.

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"This is not a debate for or against the vaccine, this is an argument of having freedom of choice and what is best for us in our informed consent," Jason Wheat said.

"I have had COVID," Wendy Williams said. "I have the antibodies. I’m not worried about helping my brothers and sisters in the community."

County officials said no one is in jeopardy of losing their job at the end of the month but they will be under review.

"The solution is simple -- testing for all," Brianne Griffis said. "Weekly if the state or county government so decides may they be vaccinated or unvaccinated because we know both can contract, carry and spread the COVID-19 viruses."

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The Orange County Firefighter’s Union is continuing to negotiate with county leaders.

Mayor Demings said so far 72 percent of Orange County employees are already vaccinated.  

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