Even though 2020 has lived its last day, its effects are still very much present. Despite the rate of new cases slowing down, the daily case totals continue to rise all over the United States. As recently as January 7th of 2021, the New York Times reported that the U.S. had broken 280,000 daily cases. Over the first week of the new year, the United States has seen record-breaking numbers of cases every single day.
With the outbreak still very much in effect, the journey back to shared work environments seems more and more difficult. While the recent vaccine rollout had companies hoping that a return to in-person work would finally be in sight, employers have been met with even more challenges and questions. One of which is the decision to make employee vaccinations mandatory.
Why a Vaccine Mandate?
A vaccine is most effective when it is administered to everyone. Because if one person isn’t vaccinated, they are still capable of contracting the virus. If this virus spreads to vaccinated individuals, a more resistant strain may develop, nullifying the benefits of even distributing a vaccination in the first place. This is where the necessity for a vaccine mandate emerges.
As early as 1963, certain U.S. states and jurisdictions have had mandatory vaccination policies put in place for student safety. These laws prevented the entrance or admission of students, particularly daycare students, who didn’t receive the necessary vaccinations. Now, all 50 states have some form of vaccine mandate that affects students at almost every level of education. So, if vaccine mandates are commonplace in schools and daycares, why aren’t they in businesses?
Why Are Employers Resisting Mandatory Vaccination Policies?
Vaccines, in the past decade or two, have become a somewhat political issue. Contrary to scientific evidence, a significant amount of the global population believes that vaccinations are dangerous. While vaccines do pose some health risks, their positives certainly outweigh the negatives. Remember, all forms of medical treatment have risks – even the non-stick pans we use to cook our food. Danger is everywhere, but due to some inaccurate publications, vaccines have become a polarizing topic. As such, the polarization of vaccines may prevent employers from implementing the necessary vaccine mandates they need to protect their employees.
Employers are divided when it comes to vaccine mandates. While some believe it is the only solution for a safe return to work, others view it as a PR catastrophe waiting to happen. According to a recent Yale Chief Executive Institute survey, more than 70% of recent and current CEOs surveyed at the Yale CEO Summit were open to vaccine mandates. That is extremely promising, given some of the stigma that has developed around the subject in recent years. While most of the business leaders that attended the summit were open to the idea, not all of them were fully committed. Several CEOs indicated that they would wait to see the results of early vaccinations before implementing a mandate of their own. But this, of course, isn’t the only reason employers are avoiding vaccine mandates.
Public backlash isn’t the only thing dissuading businesses from instituting vaccine mandates. Robert Field, a law and health professor at Drexel University, has discussed the legal ramifications that could threaten businesses that implement vaccine mandates too early. Because the federal government used emergency protocols to bypass unfinished testing, most of the vaccines have not been completely vetted. Therefore, employers could be legally responsible for any health-related complications that arise from the vaccine or its lack of effectiveness.
Mandate or Not, Precautions Are Mandatory
Regardless of whether a business chooses to develop a vaccine mandate or not, employers need to take the utmost precautions with regards to health monitoring and contact tracing. Even if your employees are vaccinated, they can still contract the virus if they are exposed. That is why it is imperative for enterprises to invest in a remotely-operated system that can safely track the COVID-19 and vaccine statuses of employees.
Fortunately, COVID PreCheck is here to help. Using the COVID PreCheck app, employers can safely and securely monitor the health conditions of their employees, even in remote work environments. To learn more about COVID PreCheck as a return-to-work solution, download the app today or book a free consultation.