Starkey’s COVID-19 Vaccination Incentive Program Linked To 10% Increase in Vaccination Rate

May 2, 2022

EDEN PRAIRIE, MINNESOTA – A COVID-19 vaccination incentive program for Starkey employees was associated with a significant increase in the company’s overall vaccination rate, according to a recent study published in JAMA Network Open.

In August 2021, Starkey introduced a vaccination incentive program for employees in the U.S. to provide education on COVID-19 and encourage vaccinations. The program encouraged employees to watch and acknowledge online educational information and report their vaccination status.

Those fully vaccinated and who submitted proof of vaccination by September 2021, including employees who were vaccinated prior to the incentive announcement, received $1,000.

“The pandemic showed the world what we already knew, which was that hearing is essential. This incentive program was designed to help educate employees and keep everyone safe. We are pleased with the success of this program. As a business leader navigating the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic without a playbook, I relied heavily on common sense to drive decisions. I hope this study gives other business leaders confidence to do the same when faced with uncertainty, particularly when it comes to the health of the workforce.”

–Starkey President and CEO, Brandon Sawalich

Starkey’s program resulted in 97.9% of eligible employees reporting their vaccination status. Prior to the announcement of the program, 75.7% (1555) of employees were fully vaccinated. At the conclusion of the incentive program, 86.1% (1769) of employees were vaccinated – a 10.4 percentage point increase in vaccination rate. Furthermore, among the 500 employees not fully vaccinated prior to the announcement, 42.8% (214) became fully vaccinated.

“This study is the first that we know of that measures the impact of a large financial incentive on vaccination rate since previous analyses were limited to small ($5-$25) incentives and lottery-based programs. We are very proud to be contributing to the body of public health knowledge about how employers can positively influence employees’ personal healthcare decisions,” said Dr. Archelle Georgiou, Starkey’s Chief Health Officer and lead author of the study. 

“Our study findings suggest that by investing in a bold vaccination incentive program, large employers are well positioned to address public health emergencies and push the boundaries of innovation in the business community,” said Pinar Karaca-Mandic, co-author of the study and professor of health economics at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. “This study also underscores the value and importance of collecting data to objectively measure program impact.”


About Starkey 

Starkey is a privately held, global hearing technology company headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Founded by Bill Austin in 1967, Starkey is known for its innovative design, development and distribution of comprehensive digital hearing systems. Led today by President and CEO Brandon Sawalich, Starkey is the only American-owned provider of hearing technologies. The company has more than 5,000 employees, operates 29 facilities and does business in more than 100 markets worldwide. Learn more at

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