Last week, WR reported on the increasing number of large employers, both public and private, requiring COVID-19 vaccines as a condition of continued employment. All of Washington state’s healthcare workers will be required to get vaccinated, too, per the Governor’s proclamation.
What about employers not yet affected by imposed vaccine mandates? Should employers require vaccinations if given a choice?
First, what we know about the new Delta variant, the highly contagious strain of COVID-19 that’s causing a national spike in infections and hospitalizations:
- Those who are unvaccinated have a higher risk of getting COVID-19 than before the Delta emerged
- The Delta variant is getting more young people sick than previous variants
- While the Delta variant’s symptoms are the same as other COVID-19 versions, the onset of sickness is quicker, including in the younger population
- The best protection for ourselves and others is to get vaccinated
- While a small number of vaccinated people have had breakthrough cases, the vaccine prevents the likelihood of becoming seriously ill
- As the federal government gives direction on how we work as a nation to fight COVID, employers have a role in how that plays out in the workplace.
Employers can best encourage employees to get vaccinated by educating them on why it’s essential for themselves and their community. Some employers have offered incentives, such as cash bonuses or a paid day off. Others have informed their employees about the government’s program to provide paid time off to get vaccinated or cover up to two weeks of wages if they get sick from COVID-19.