When employers require employees to get COVID-19 vaccinations, what happens? A new National Safety Council (NSC) study has the answer, plus more information on the world of safety during the pandemic.
Employer vaccine requirements increased worker vaccination rates by 35%, according to the NSC’s report, A Year in Review, and What’s Next: COVID-19 Employer Approaches and Worker Experiences.
The NSC’s statistic mirrors reports from employers that have initiated vaccination mandates. For example, United Airlines required all of its employees to be vaccinated. Only 593 employees out of 67,000 didn’t comply, which is less than one percent. (Less than 3% applied for exemptions.)
Only 4% of unvaccinated workers interviewed by the NSC have an employer vaccination requirement, compared to 22% of vaccinated employees.
The Department of Justice has ruled employers can require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Some vaccinated employees are skeptical about booster shots. Of those fully vaccinated, 15% aren’t sure or don’t plan to receive booster shots. Thirteen to fifteen percent of employees who’ve received one shot of a two-shot dose don’t plan to get the second shot.
How are employers doing?
About two-thirds of workers were either extremely or somewhat satisfied with their employer’s pandemic response and felt it adequately protected them and their co-workers.
However, employers are more confident about their control measures than their employees are. Organizations rated control measures they implemented as more effective than workers rated the same controls. Overall:
- masks, distancing and self-reporting symptoms were rated highly effective by workers and employers
- changes to ventilation, increasing the amount of time between work shifts, and COVID-19 testing at home or work were rated highly effective by employers, but less effective by workers, and
- control measures associated with the lowest case rates were COVID-19 testing at home or on site, reducing direct contact between workers either by spacing or remote work, and improving ventilation and airflow.
The NSC report says the four greatest ongoing challenges of the pandemic mentioned by those interviewed are:
- keeping track of and understanding the relative risk associated with COVID-19 variants
- maintaining contact tracing protocols
- ensuring safe, healthy and highly productive operations in a diminishing labor market, and
- addressing ongoing burnout and the downsides of remote work, such as “Zoom fatigue.”
The NSC conducted surveys, interviews and group discussions between June and August 2021 for the report.