Key Points Points:
- Today, we discuss Determining Your Employee Vaccination Strategy in the Recommendations for Industry.
- The first two cases of the South African COVID-19 variant (B.1.351) have been detected in the United States, specifically South Carolina. Both individuals are “in different regions of the state and do not appear to be connected.” Neither were known to have traveled recently.
- Johnson and Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine demonstrates 72% efficacy in the U.S.; however, its efficacy dropped to 57% in South Africa where the 501Y.V2 strain of COVID-19 has fueled a second COVID wave.
- In United Kingdom trials, Novavax’s vaccine shows 89% efficacy. A small study in South Africa indicates this vaccine may be less effective against the South African variant
- In an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 variants, Germany is pushing to install a travel ban from UK, Portugal, Brazil and South Africa.
- This week, China began testing for COVID-19 through anal swabs, citing it as a more accurate method for determining COVID-19 presence.
- Mexico’s COVID-19 death toll has exceeded that of India’s. Mexico now has the third-highest death toll in the world.
Recommendations for Industry
Determining Your Employee Vaccination Strategy
Question: Should I mandate or encourage my employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine? Or should I remain impartial and let them make their own decisions?
Answer: As COVID-19 vaccines become more available, TAG is getting many questions like this from businesses, evidencing that companies across the nation are attempting to determine what their vaccination policies will be. It is a complex issue and one that needs to be strategized by each individual company based on your own situations and workforce. This decision requires companies to look at risks from a public health perspective and a liability perspective.
To assist in that strategizing, TAG has developed an Employer Vaccination Continuum, with some considerations that company management teams can use in your discussions.
As shown, the continuum includes considerations for determinations on mandating, incentivizing, recommending, or staying impartial on employee vaccinations. It is important to state, however, that TAG is not offering a legal opinion, rather it is developed as one approach to help you come up with a strategy. Please consult with your legal counsel for actual liability considerations.
In addition to the decision on employee vaccinations, TAG recommends that the status quo continue to be maintained in terms of worker protections for preventing COVID-19 transmission – and all its variants. There continues to be a great deal of mixed messaging and misinformation around both COVID-19 and the vaccines, but there is no need to change the basic prevention strategies that have been in place – single two- or three-layer mask of tightly woven, breathable, and washable fabric; social distancing; handwashing; etc.
For further assistance in determining your vaccination strategy, or other COVID-19 or vaccine consultation, give TAG a call. We are continuing to stay current on the most accurate, science-based information on all things COVID.
In Case You Missed It
- In Wednesday’s Recommendations for Industry, we discussed this week’s Risk Matrices and address the issue of wearing two masks.
- In Monday’s Recommendations for Industry, we discussed the new administration’s federal strategy for COVID-19 worker protections.
- On Thursday, The White House released a new Executive Order on Protecting Worker Health and Safety, which outlines actions the federal government must take to reduce the risk that workers may contract COVID-19 in the workplace. Actions include “partnering with state and local governments to better protect public employees; enforcing worker health and safety requirements; and pushing for additional resources to help employers protect employees.”
- CDC has tweaked recommendations for the second dose of COVID-19 vaccinations (without data) to note that in extreme circumstances, the second dose can be another TAG encourages employers to work with public health authorities to find a consistent and reliable source of vaccines so that this practice isn’t necessary.
- Bharat Biotech’s BBV152 COVID-19 Phase 1 vaccine data “shows it is safe and immune-producing.”
- A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll shows that despite the push to get people vaccinated, 6 of 10 U.S. adults don’t know when they’ll get the COVID-19 vaccine; while 55% do not know where they will be able to receive one. However, the public is generally optimistic about the COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Read more of the report here.
- Like other countries, the U.S., in order to slow the spread of the new COVID-19 strains, will soon place non-U.S. citizen travel restrictions to and from South Africa.
- In Friday’s Recommendations for Industry, we explored President Biden’s new Federal Strategy – and a new TAG Vaccine Manual!
- United States' President Joe Biden and the incoming administration has released the “National Strategy for The COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness”
- President Biden is also encouraging “masking up” to reduce spread so that more businesses can be open. Masks will be required in airports, trains, intercity busses, etc. Additionally, the new Executive Order requires international travelers to show proof of having a negative COVID-19 test before coming to the U.S.