Vaccination Programs in the Workplace: An Employer's Guide - Shegerian Law

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world as we know it. In the case of employers, the health risks brought by the virus have required them to change their approach to work. While it wasn’t easy, developments such as hybrid work and work-from-home arrangements have kept organizations afloat during these difficult times.

The efforts of medical professionals have also allowed the world to finally adapt to the new normal. As COVID-19 cases go down, more and more companies are returning to the office. If you plan to follow suit, consider running a vaccination program for your company.

This guide will teach you the steps and key considerations of running a vaccination program.

Vaccination Programs in the Workplace: An Employer's Guide Infograohic

Vaccination Programs in the Workplace: An Employer’s Guide

Vaccines are one of the most important medical advancements in history. They have been instrumental in reducing the spread of diseases that threaten the lives of millions every year.

Due to the drastic changes caused by the pandemic, employees and employers had to adapt. Roughly 40% of U.S. workers were able to shift to a remote work setup, but these are from the higher educated quartile.

Others have also adopted some form of remote setup. Instead of working from home, the company would implement a hybrid setup, involving a few days of being in the office and a few working remotely.

Regardless of the situation, you may want to implement a vaccination program to protect your employees and yourself. The following sections detail the benefits, step-by-step process, and answers to some frequently asked questions.

The Benefits of a Workplace Vaccination Program

Vaccination programs bring many benefits to both employees and employers. Here’s what your company can expect when you implement a vaccination program.

Benefits for Employees

1. Ensures safety during on-site work

There’s no doubt that employee health should be a top priority for employers. If your company requires on-site work, vaccinating your employees will ensure their protection and prevent them from spreading the virus to others.  

2. Improves morale and well-being

COVID-19 is highly contagious, which is why many employees prefer to work from home. Implementing a vaccination program can greatly improve your staff’s morale and well-being since they know they are in a safe environment.

3. Grants peace of mind

Employees with underlying medical conditions are worried about the long-term complications of contracting COVID-19. But with the help of a vaccination program, workers with certain health conditions will be protected, ensuring their peace of mind as they return.

 Benefits for Employers

1. Reduce absences to illness

All in all, vaccinating your employees will reduce their likelihood of getting sick. Since they can report to work consistently, running a vaccination program can reduce absenteeism.

2. Improved productivity

In addition to improved morale and well-being, implementing a vaccination program can also increase employee productivity. Since they won’t have to worry about getting sick, your employees can focus on their tasks.

3. Keeps a healthy workforce

At the end of the day, your employees are your biggest assets, so ensure they’re in good health. Companies with a healthy workforce will have a much smoother time going about their daily operations.  

How to Run a Vaccination Program: A Step-by-Step Guide

Running a vaccination program is a complex process. To help address any concerns you may have, this section details a seven-step guide on how to run a vaccination program.

1. Assign a vaccination coordinator to lead your program

According to the federal government, only specific individuals can administer the COVID-19 vaccines. You’ll need to assign a vaccination coordinator to ensure your program runs without issues. Here are the individuals who are qualified to administer the shot:

  • Doctors and physician assistants
  • Nurses
  • EMTs and paramedics

2. Have a reliable supplier

You can’t have a vaccination program without a reliable supplier. As your primary partner, good collaboration will ensure that all your employees are vaccinated according to priority and schedule.  

3. Determine if your company requires mandatory or voluntary vaccination

Depending on your business, you may have to opt for a mandatory or voluntary program. If you’re in the healthcare or food industry, your vaccination program is compulsory to abide by safety regulations. Other businesses can have a voluntary program that has other benefits as well.

4. Pinpoint who should be prioritized for vaccination

Most companies have employees from different backgrounds. With that in mind, consider your staff’s specific conditions and needs. If your company has disabled or senior employees, you should place them at the top of the priority list.  

5. Encourage vaccination through education and incentives

With so much information circulating online, some of your employees may fall victim to fake news and misconceptions about COVID-19 in general. Educating them on how vaccines work and offering incentives for vaccination may encourage them to get the shot.

6. Review exemptions and establish penalties for non-compliance

Employees who practice a certain religion or have a disability may be exempted from taking the shot. However, for those who refuse it, determine if there will be penalties and what they will be.

7. Ensure you have proper documentation

Documentation is essential in running a vaccination program since it will show who took the vaccine, who is exempted, and who needs to be prioritized. You want to be organized for your employees’ well-being, and you don’t want to add any unnecessary stress on them.

FAQs and Key Considerations on Workplace Vaccination Mandates

Some of your employees will inevitably have some concerns about your vaccination program. To help you prepare, here are some frequently asked questions about workplace vaccination mandates.

  • What is the importance of vaccines?

Vaccines protect people from serious and life-threatening diseases, including measles and polio. The two primary reasons for getting vaccinated are to protect oneself and others.

  • Can an employer ask for proof of vaccination?

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), any documentation or confirmation that employees provide about their vaccination status is considered medical information. If an employer asks for proof, these documents must be treated as confidential.

  • Are there any exempted individuals from workplace vaccination programs?

Exempted individuals include those with a disability and with strict religious beliefs. The latter may be required to explain, but as long as the employee can show that, they can be exempted.

  • Can an employee deny their company’s vaccination program? Can a workplace require vaccination?

Company vaccination programs should be job-related and consistent with the company’s necessities. For instance, vaccinations are mandatory in high-contact sectors such as healthcare or foodservice. If an employee rejects the vaccine but is required to work on-site, there may be some workplace vaccination requirements that employers will need to evaluate to avoid an increased risk of infections

Overcoming COVID-19 Together

As an employer, you always want to ensure the safety of your employees. Considering the lives COVID-19 has taken and disrupted, you wouldn’t want any of them to be compromised further. Fortunately, a vaccination program can offer your employees the protection they need inside and outside the workplace.

Since vaccination programs may have legal implications, you may want to consult a legal professional before doing so. Don’t hesitate to contact an employment lawyer from Shegerian and Associates to help you navigate the legalities of a workplace vaccination mandate.

Manuela Varela

Relations Manager

Manuela Varela has been with Shegerian & Associates since August 2022. She is responsible for outreach and marketing on behalf of the firm and manages relationships between firms and referring attorneys. She is also responsible for developing business opportunities and affiliations. Manuela graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in Economics and Political Science.