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Multi-National Businesses Face Varying COVID Protections

Key Points:

  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss the varying COVID protections that multi-national companies need to consider. Read more here below.
  • The joint WHO-China study on COVID-19 origins has found, in a recent report, “that transmission of the virus from bats to humans through another animal is the most likely scenario and that a lab leak is ‘extremely unlikely’”.
  • New York has launched their Excelsior Pass app to help New York businesses return to normal “by providing a free, fast and secure way to present digital proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results.” Furthermore: “Businesses and venues can scan and validate your pass to ensure you meet any COVID-19 vaccination or testing requirements for entry. Along with your Pass, you’ll be asked to show a photo ID that shows your name and birth date to verify that the Pass belongs to you. Adults may hold passes for accompanying minors.”
  • A recent CDC study on vaccinated health-care workers found that both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were 80% effective in preventing COVID-19 infections (after the first dose).

Recommendations for Industry

Multi-National Businesses Face Varying COVID Protections

Q. Although vaccines are gradually becoming readily available for adults in the U.S., this is not the case in many other areas of the world. Because of this, TAG has received questions from multi-national businesses about when and how they may be able to draw down COVID-19 protections in their facilities in different countries.

A. This will vary significantly depending on the country’s case rate and government-enforced stringency as well as vaccines. In general, TAG recommends that no protections be reduced until there are no more than 10 cases per 100K population or at least 40% of the community is fully vaccinated – and even at this point, protections should be only moderately reduced. We wouldn’t see reaching a new normal until there are no more than 5 cases per 100K and at least 40% of the community is vaccinated.

However, because of the lack of vaccine availability in some areas, and because the overarching goal is to make changes based on low case rates, there are times when other considerations can be made. For example, in Australia and New Zealand vaccines are hard to get but they have other controls in place. So the first consideration is always to follow the government/public health office dictions.

However, even if a country reduces protections, reducing protections may not be the best move forward while the epidemic continues to surge. This is because if an unvaccinated individual did not have a mask on, were symptomatically infected (and airflow was not properly managed), there is potential for COVID-19 to “hang in the air” and infect someone who also may be unvaccinated and unprotected.  We still do not know for sure the impact of the vaccine on asymptomatic transmission, but are learning more about that each week, so that is factor to keep in consideration as things evolve.

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