Goodbye COVID-19 Precedence Phases And Tiers, Hey Battles With Vaccine Passports! – Coronavirus (COVID-19)

On Tuesday, April 6, 2021, during a tour of a vaccination site in Alexandria, Virginia, President Joe Biden set a deadline for each state to allow all adults to be eligible for vaccination by April 19, 2021 (the previous target date being April 1, 2021). May was postponed) 2021). White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeffrey Zients also informed governors on April 6, 2021 that more than 28 million doses of vaccines would be distributed to all states in the week of April 4 to April 12, 2021. The President’s policy is consistent with Dr. Anthony Fauci’s November 2020 estimate that the earliest vaccine would be available to most non-prioritized Americans would be April 2021.

While it’s unclear whether or how that deadline could be enforced – and justifying and scheduling vaccinations doesn’t mean the shots actually get into people’s arms by or late April (that’s sure to take a few more weeks) – it appears that the country is about to open the floodgates for vaccine availability.

More than a dozen states have already fully opened the eligibility to anyone aged 16 and over. Now that there are vaccines from three drug companies and the first priority phases and tiers have been exhausted in most states, it seems that anyone willing to receive the vaccine can do so in a very short time. Surveys, of course, show that around 13 percent of people say they “definitely won’t” get the vaccine, and another 25 percent say they either “wait and see” or “only get vaccinated” if necessary. This may explain why supply has met (or will quickly meet and exceed) current demand for the vaccine.

Texas is one of the states that gives eligibility to anyone over the age of 16. However, Governor Greg Abbott signed an executive order on April 6, 2021 banning government agencies (and private corporations receiving public funding) from requesting proof of vaccination for the purpose of obtaining services or entering a location – whether through the use of “Vaccination records” or otherwise. According to the governor, he enacted these prohibitions and safeguards in Texas because anyone “has the option to accept or refuse to be given the product” if they have been approved for emergency use (as is the case with all three vaccines currently available) and vaccination is always voluntary in Texas and will never be mandated by the government. “This executive order also classifies bare” vaccination status “as” private health information, “although the federal government has stated that soliciting or soliciting employees to provide evidence of COVID-19 vaccination is not a disability-related screening among Americans with disabilities Act. Florida Governor Ron Desantis issued a similar executive order on April 2, 2021, but it prohibits any “Florida company …” from requiring customers or customers to submit documentation that has the COVID-19 vaccination certify … to gain access to access or service out of business. “While the Executive Ordinance makes no reference to ’employers’ or ‘workers’, it is not yet clear how broadly the prohibitions will be interpreted.

Considerations for optimizing vaccination and return to office guidelines

Even if an employer may legally require a full vaccination before employees return to their offices or facilities, the obligation on employees to choose between a vaccine and any pre-existing aspect of their job can create resentment and risk legal action. However, there is a good business model that all employees working on a construction site with other employees must be fully vaccinated. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued guidelines – preliminary public health recommendations for fully vaccinated individuals – stating that fully vaccinated individuals should use private indoor visits with a small group of other fully vaccinated individuals Do not wear masks or observe social distancing individuals (although fully vaccinated individuals should “[a]voiding medium and large face-to-face gatherings “and continuing to practice other preventive measures” in public places). CDC guidelines do not specifically address the use of fully vaccinated workers in the workplace, and for the time being, state and local regulations on face covering may still apply and other mitigation measures.

Given the statistics above, and the relatively high percentage of those who speak out against or are reluctant to receive a vaccination, employers may want to consider alternatives such as vaccination. B. Continue to allow remote working arrangements or allow unvaccinated employees to return to their jobs with continued health and safety protocols such as strict social distancing, masking and quarantine.

Other employers may (or may not want to) allow remote working arrangements for an indefinite period of time. It may make sense for these employers to slowly introduce compulsory vaccination, but these employers may also want to consider reasonable employee placement requests based on genuine religious beliefs or insured disabilities. Possible adjustments include granting exemptions from compulsory vaccination, waiting for alternative vaccines without undesirable ingredients or requiring additional mitigation measures, such as B. Increased social distancing, continued use of face coverings, or reassignment to another position or area of ​​work. Reviewing accommodation requests and participating in the interactive process is a fact-intensive process that often requires careful consideration.

When a job is only open to those who have been vaccinated, knowing who is vaccinated is easy – everyone is! But how do employees at workplaces where both vaccinated and unvaccinated employees can return to their workplaces know who among them was vaccinated – color-coded nameplates, stickers, or other accessories? Do employees care if those who work closely with them all day have been vaccinated? How should employers track and can they track vaccination status? Aside from the Texas governor’s order, nothing currently prohibits employers from requesting proof of vaccination and keeping (confidential) records of such vaccinations (e.g., viewing and keeping a copy of employees’ CDC COVID-19 vaccination records). However, labeling (or labeling) employees as vaccinated or unvaccinated can lead to shame, bullying or harassment in the workplace if not properly implemented, monitored and controlled.

The debate continues on whether “vaccination records” or other forms of identification should be used to distinguish between vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Many restaurants, bars, concert halls, fitness centers, cinemas, theme parks, and other businesses and organizations have announced that they will likely require proof of vaccination (or proof of the need for shelter) so that people can enter their facilities and enjoy their food , their products, entertainment and services. And right now, most employers can get started (subject to Texas, Florida, and other state bans).

Current considerations for employers

Employers may want to continue communicating with employees about the organization’s position on vaccinations, remote working regulations, and safety protocols (and continuously updating them).

Employers may want to take this opportunity to implement a voluntary vaccination policy or to convert a currently voluntary policy into a mandatory policy (whether for all workers or for the subgroups of workers who are allowed or required to return to personal work). And if the opportunity to return to work in person is not enough to achieve a desired level of vaccination in their workforce, employers should consider other incentives for vaccination, such as: B. Cash rewards, gift cards, extra paid time off, or other rewards if you haven’t already. However, compulsory vaccination for returning to an office or facility could encourage employees to refuse vaccinations (or not tell their employers they have been vaccinated) in order to continue their remote working arrangements – which, ironically, is an incentive to vaccinate.

In either case, employers no longer have to worry about figuring out which workers could qualify for vaccinations at all of the vague, confusing, and contradicting stages and stages originally set by the CDC and implemented by each state with various tweaks. And that is certainly good news and progress!

The content of this article is intended to provide general guidance on the subject. A professional should be obtained about your particular circumstances.

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