FAQs about COVID-19 Vaccination in the Workplace: For Employers

  1. What are the benefits of having a workplace COVID-19 vaccination program?

Making COVID-19 vaccination part of your workplace wellness program offers many benefits to you and

your employees. To keep your workplace healthy, consider offering free, on-site COVID-19 vaccination

at your business locations.

Potential benefits to employers:

  • Keep the workforce healthy by preventing employees from getting COVID-19
  • Reduce absences due to illness
  • Reduce time missed from work to get vaccinated
  • Improve productivity
  • Improve morale

Potential benefits to employees:

  • Prevent COVID-19 illness
  • Reduce absences and doctor visits due to illness
  • Offers convenience
  • Improve morale

If your business can’t offer COVID-19 vaccinations on site, or if your state or jurisdiction has determined

that your business is not a suitable location at this time, encourage employees to seek COVID-19

vaccination in their community and provide them with information about where they can get the

vaccine.

  1. How does my workplace implement a COVID-19 vaccination program?

Employers considering implementing a workplace COVID-19 vaccination program should contact the

health department in their jurisdiction for guidance. The planning process for hosting a workplace

COVID-19 vaccination program should include input from management, human resources, employees,

and labor representatives, as appropriate. Important preliminary steps include obtaining senior

management support, identifying a vaccine coordinator, and enlisting expertise from local public health

authorities, occupational health providers, and pharmacies. Additional considerations for hosting a

vaccination clinic can be found in CDC’s Guidance for Planning Vaccination Clinics Held at Satellite,

Temporary, or Off-Site Locations and Resources for Hosting a Vaccination Clinic. COVID-19 vaccination

providers can also review Interim Considerations: Preparing for the Potential Management of

Anaphylaxis After COVID-19 Vaccination.

  1. Will use of COVID-19 vaccines be mandated under Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs)?

No, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not mandate vaccination. However, whether a state,

local government, or employer, for example, may require or mandate COVID-19 vaccination is a matter

of state or other applicable law.

  1. Can I require my employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine regardless of their medical

conditions or religious beliefs?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) provides guidance on mandatory vaccination

against H1N1 influenza. The EEOC guidance may be applicable to COVID-19 vaccination, which became

available in December 2020.

For employers covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), “…an employee may be entitled to

an exemption based on an ADA disability that prevents him from taking the influenza vaccine.”

For employers covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, “once an employer receives notice

that an employee’s sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance prevents him from taking the

influenza vaccine, the employer must provide a reasonable accommodation unless it would pose an

undue hardship.”

“Generally, ADA-covered employers should consider simply encouraging employees to get the influenza

vaccine rather than requiring them to take it.”

See question 13 for more information from the EEOC, available

at https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/pandemic-preparedness-workplace-and-americans-disabilitiesact.

  1. What kind of exemptions typically accompany employee vaccination programs?

Two types of exemptions can be implemented: medical and religious exemptions. Some people may be

at risk for an adverse reaction because of an allergy to one of the vaccine components or a medical

condition. This is referred to as a medical exemption. Some people may decline vaccination because of a

religious belief. This is referred to as a religious exemption. Employers offering vaccination to workers

should keep a record of the offer to vaccinate and the employee’s decision to accept or decline

vaccination.

  1. Can I require people to get vaccinated as a condition of work? Can I require proof if someone claims to have been vaccinated?

Whether an employer may require or mandate COVID-19 vaccination is a matter of state or other

applicable law. If an employer requires employees to provide proof that they have received a COVID-19

vaccination from a pharmacy or their own healthcare provider, the employer cannot mandate that the

employee provide any medical information as part of the proof.

  1. How can I encourage my employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Consider hosting a vaccination clinic at your workplace, and contact the health department in your

jurisdiction for guidance. Offer the vaccination at no charge and during work hours. If hosting a

vaccination clinic at your workplace is not possible, consider other steps to encourage vaccination, listed

below:

  • Be flexible in your human resources policies. Establish policies that allow employees to take paid

leave to seek COVID-19 vaccination in the community. Support transportation to off-site vaccination

clinics.

  • Use promotional posters/flyers to advertise locations offering COVID-19 vaccination in the

community. Display posters about COVID-19 vaccination in break rooms, cafeterias, and other hightraffic areas.

  • Post articles in company communications (e.g., newsletters, intranet, emails, portals) about the

importance of COVID-19 vaccination and where to get the vaccine in the community.

  1. How can employers reassure employees that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe, even though it is

new?

COVID-19 vaccines are being held to the same safety standards as all other vaccines. The federal

government has been working since the pandemic began to make COVID-19 vaccines available as soon

as possible while ensuring they are safe and effective through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

(FDA) Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) authority. COVID-19 vaccines were tested in large studies that

included thousands of adults of varying ages, racial and ethnic groups, and health status. The study

results showed that the vaccines met rigorous safety criteria and provided protection from COVID-19 in

the study populations.

The most common side effects were pain at the injection site and symptoms like fever and chills. These

side effects tended to be mild to moderate and went away quickly on their own. Many had few or no

severe side effects. In addition, adults over 55 had fewer and milder side effects than younger people.

Learn more about what steps are taken to ensure the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.

  1. What information should employees get before vaccination?

COVID-19 vaccines will initially be available through the U.S. COVID-19 Vaccination Program. The law

requires that vaccination providers participating in the program provide vaccine recipients with certain

information, including an EUA Fact Sheet for Recipients about the vaccine they are

receiving and possible side effects, as well as a vaccination record card with the name and manufacturer

of the vaccine they received, where they received it, and when they need to return for a second dose of

vaccine if required. You can also hand out this flyer from CDC.

  1. After employees have been vaccinated, can they stop practicing other preventive measures such as social distancing and wearing masks?

No. CDC recommends that people continue to take these and other preventive measures after they

are vaccinated. Even if employees have received the COVID-19 vaccine, it will be important for them to

continue other preventive measures such as wearing a mask, staying 6 feet away from others, avoiding

crowds, washing hands often, and cleaning high-touch surfaces frequently. It takes time for your body to

build protection after any vaccination, and the COVID-19 vaccine may not protect you until a week or

two after your second shot (dose). Together, getting vaccinated for COVID-19 and following CDC’s

recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and

spreading COVID-19.

  1. If we vaccinate our employees, can we return to or reopen the workplace?

It is important to conduct a thorough assessment of the workplace to identify potential workplace

hazards related to COVID-19. Widespread vaccination of employees can be one consideration

for restarting operations and returning to the workplace. Other considerations for returning to the

workplace include:

  1. The necessity for employees to physically return to the workplace and whether telework

options can be continued

  1. Transmission of SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in the community (how many

infections there are and how fast it’s spreading)

  1. The ability of employees to practice social distancing and other prevention measures, like

wearing masks, when in the workplace

  1. Local or state mandates for business closure restrictions
  2. What should we tell employees to do if they develop a fever after getting vaccinated?

Employees who experience a fever after vaccination should, ideally, stay home from work pending

further evaluation, including consideration for COVID-19 testing. CDC has released guidance, which

includes suggested approaches to evaluating and managing post-vaccination symptoms, including fever.

  1. What should I do if people call in sick with side effects?

In most cases, discomfort after vaccination from fever or pain at the injection site is normal and lasts

only a day or 2. You should encourage the employee to stay home and contact their doctor or

healthcare provider if:

  • The redness or tenderness where they got the shot increases after 24 hours
  • Their side effects are worrying them or do not seem to be going away after a few days

Learn about how to report a problem or bad reaction after getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

  1. Should we tell employees to report vaccine side effects?

CDC and FDA encourage the public to report possible side effects (called “adverse events”) to the

Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. Employers can also encourage employees to enroll in a new

smartphone-based tool called “v-safe.” CDC is implementing v-safe to check in on people’s health after

they receive a COVID-19 vaccine. When employees receive a vaccine, they should also receive a v-safe

information sheet telling them how to enroll in v-safe. If they enroll, they will receive regular text

messages directing them to surveys where they can report any problems or adverse reactions after

receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. CDC also provides recommendations for people who have had allergic

reactions to other vaccines and for those with other types of allergies.

  1. Should I continue to offer influenza vaccination to my employees?

Yes. It is important that everyone 6 months and older be vaccinated to protect themselves from flu

every fall and winter. While getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, it can

prevent people from becoming sick with flu and needing medical care. Flu is another serious respiratory

illness that can cause missed work, hospitalization, and, in some cases, even death. The combination of

flu and COVID-19 could overwhelm healthcare settings. However, people should not get the flu shot

within 14 days of getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

  1. Should I include contractors and temporary employees in my COVID-19 vaccination plan?

For workers employed by contract firms or temporary help agencies, the staffing agency and the host

employer are joint employers and, therefore, both are responsible for providing and maintaining a safe

work environment. The extent of the responsibilities the staffing agency and the host employer have will

vary, depending on the workplace conditions, and should be described in their contract (Protecting

Temporary Workers).

If you plan to offer vaccination at your workplace, consider providing vaccination to all people working

at the workplace, regardless of their status as a contract or temporary employee. What is most

important is to encourage everyone at the work site to be vaccinated, no matter what their work

arrangement is. If you do not plan to or are unable to offer work site vaccination, consider providing

information to those at the workplace about how to explore options for vaccination in the community.

  1. Should I stagger vaccination schedules for employees to avoid worker shortages due to

vaccine side effects?

Data from COVID-19 vaccine trials indicate that most side effects are mild. Most occur within the first 3

days of vaccination (the day of vaccination and the following 2 days, with most occurring the day after

vaccination), resolve within 1–2 days, and are more frequent and severe following the second dose. At

this time, we do not know how common these symptoms may be among employees. Nonetheless, we

expect that most employees who experience symptoms following vaccination will not need to miss

work. Please see CDC guidance for further information.

However, some employees who get vaccinated may have side effects, like fever, and might need to miss

work temporarily. CDC understands concerns about potential workforce shortages resulting from

vaccine side effects. Workplaces may consider staggering schedules for employees who receive

vaccination so that not all employees are vaccinated on the same day.

In addition, staggering may be more important for the second dose, after which side effects seem more

frequent. To help ensure continuity of operations, facilities may consider staggering vaccination for

employees in the same job category or who work in the same area of a facility. Staggering vaccination

for employees may cause delays in vaccinating your staff, and the decision to stagger vaccination will

need to be weighed against potential inconveniences that might reduce vaccine acceptance. Facilities

should evaluate their specific situation when determining their best approach. Facilities that choose to

stagger vaccine administration should also ensure all employees receive 2 doses as recommended.

  1. What if an employee has already had COVID-19? Should they still get vaccinated?

Yes. Both the virus that causes COVID-19 and the vaccine are new. We don’t yet know how long

protection lasts for those who get infected or those who are vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccination should

be offered to workers regardless of whether they already had COVID-19. Workers should not be

required to have an antibody test before or after they are vaccinated. Learn more about getting

vaccinated if someone has already had COVID-19

 

Summary:

For more information, on how you can better protect your employees during COVID-19 by providing different health insurance options, please contact Next Generation Payroll today. Next Generation Payroll is a small black owned business located in the heart of Dallas, Texas. Our mission is to level the playing field on a national level for small businesses and communities. We help to improve digital marketing, HR Management, Payroll, and  provide insurance options  for employees and contractors. For more information please subscribe to our newsletters by filling out the form below.



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