The race to vaccinate the United States against COVID-19 is underway with two emergency use vaccines being deployed nationwide. According to the CDC, 44.4M doses have been distributed throughout the United States with 23.5M doses already administered — an average of 1.27M doses per day over the last week.
Wisconsin has 1,200 eligible and trained COVID-19 vaccinators, and up until this week they had been prioritizing vaccinations for front-line health care workers, skilled nursing and long-term care facilities, police, fire and correctional staff. On January 25, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) opened vaccine eligibility to 700,000 adults aged 65+ and announced the next group in line will include educators, childcare workers, Medicaid long-term care individuals, some public-facing essential workers, non-frontline essential health care personnel, and facility staff and residents in a congregate living setting. With expanding eligibility, employers have begun crafting communications to employees regarding vaccination expectations. The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans shared some advice to answer commonly asked questions addressing vaccination strategies for employers.
While state laws may vary for allowing vaccine mandates, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has confirmed that employers can mandate the vaccine as a condition of employment with appropriate exemptions for disability-related requests or religious-based objections. At a recent Yale University summit, CEOs were asked whether vaccination should be a work requirement. Seventy percent said it should be, but most acknowledged that mandating it would be very controversial. Only 5% of employers said they will require the vaccine, 39% said they would not and 41% are still deciding.
Vaccine Mandate Considerations:
As your employees enter the eligibility pool for COVID-19 vaccinations, encourage them to contact their health care provider, local pharmacy, or health department to find out how they can register to receive a vaccine. Click here to find an up-to-date list of eligible populations on the Wisconsin DHS website.Sources: