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Guidance for Workplace COVID-19 Vaccination Campaigns

COVID-19 Vaccination
  • Published
  • 6 April 2021
  • Category
  • General

Employers who offer COVID-19 vaccinations to employees are doing their part to stop the spread of disease and move a step closer to the goal of achieving herd, or group, immunity. They are also investing in business recovery and sustainability.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated its Workplace Vaccination Program webpage with recommendations for employers on:

  • Where and when to offer vaccination (onsite or offsite)
  • How to build confidence in COVID-19 vaccines
  • Determining eligibility for the shots
  • Best practices for distribution and administration
  • Vaccine mandates and exemptions
  • Reopening workplaces

WorkCare follows CDC guidance when consulting with clients on COVID-19 prevention and management solutions and providing vaccination campaigns.

The CDC recommends onsite vaccination campaigns for employers with:

  • Large numbers of employees at fixed locations who have predictable schedules
  • The ability to enroll in their local jurisdiction’s immunization program as a vaccination provider or retain an enrolled vaccination provider
  • A location that can safely house a vaccination clinic with social distancing – see CDC guidance for temporary vaccination clinics

Offsite location options are suggested for:

  • Small-to-medium-sized organizations that do not have the resources to host a vaccination clinic
  • Workers who frequently move from one job site to the next
  • Employees with highly variable schedules
  • Workplaces where most workers prefer vaccination in a community-based clinic rather than a worksite clinic

Legal Considerations

Whether an employer may require or mandate COVID-19 vaccination for employees is determined by the state in which they operate or other applicable laws. Generally, employers are advised to strongly encourage but not mandate vaccination. An employer may require employees to show proof that they have already received a COVID-19 vaccination, but they may not ask for personal medical information as part of that proof.

Employers must apply two types of exemptions to avoid legal entanglements: medical and religious. For example, an employee at risk of an adverse reaction due to an allergy or underlying medical condition would be exempted from vaccination. Alternatively, employees may decline vaccination because of a religious belief.

In addition, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an employee with a disability may qualify for an exemption. The ADA allows employers to take steps to protect the health or safety of others in the workplace. However, they have to show that an unvaccinated person with a qualified disability would pose a significant risk of substantial harm to himself/herself or others, and that the risk can’t be reduced with a reasonable accommodation as defined by law.

With regard to determining eligibility for vaccination, attorneys advise employers to review CDC, state and local guidance. The CDC recommends that employers who operate in multiple states and countries establish a vaccination committee and/or immunization champion to monitor vaccination rollout across jurisdictions and notify employees when they are eligible.

Vaccine Costs

Americans do not have to dig into their pockets to pay for vaccination; the COVID-19 vaccine is covered and paid for through government programs and insurance plans. The federal government (and U.S. taxpayers) paid in advance for millions of doses that are being distributed through the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program. (Refer to the Interim Playbook for Jurisdiction Operations.)

Providers are allowed to charge per-dose administration fees. Participating providers, including pharmacies, bill private and public insurance for the vaccine administration fee. The fee is reimbursed through the Health Resources and Services administrations Provider Relief Fund for those who are uninsured.

 For employers, expenditures associated with COVID-19 vaccination programs are justified when compared to the costs of sickness absence, serious illness and death, as well as mental health and social implications.

WorkCare Options

WorkCare’s team helps facilitate the administration of vaccinations to employees in a cost-effective, efficient manner under the supervision of our occupational health professionals.

We support companies that plan to self-acquire vaccines and need a competent clinical partner for onsite administration. We also help connect employers with local pharmacy partners for in-pharmacy and onsite vaccination campaigns. Employers can choose the delivery model that works best for them and their workforce.

To learn more:

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