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COVID-19

The vaccine mandate is on hold, but some employers are encouraging booster shots

Lily Jamali Dec 6, 2021
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A woman receives a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine in Michigan. Some businesses are requiring vaccination despite the halted federal mandate. Emily Elconin via Getty Images
COVID-19

The vaccine mandate is on hold, but some employers are encouraging booster shots

Lily Jamali Dec 6, 2021
Heard on:
A woman receives a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine in Michigan. Some businesses are requiring vaccination despite the halted federal mandate. Emily Elconin via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

As the omicron variant spreads, President Joe Biden is asking businesses to move forward “voluntarily” with COVID-19 vaccine and testing requirements that a federal appeals court halted last month.

Those requirements called for businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure that staffers are vaccinated or submit negative tests every week before coming to work.

But what are businesses doing to ensure workers receive their COVID boosters?

Pretty much all of the 170-plus workers at Salvatore’s Tomato Pies in Madison, Wisconsin, are vaccinated against COVID-19, according to CEO Patrick DePula. Now, he said, it’s all about getting workers their boosters.

“So when employees sign in, they go through a health check, and then there’s also a reminder: ‘Did you schedule your booster shot?'” he said.

DePula is offering time off for workers who need to recover and paying them for it. He’s been asking workers to get vaccinated or regularly tested for COVID since June; only two employees quit in response.

“It’s a matter of employee safety. It’s a matter of public safety,” DePula said.

According to a survey by the advocacy group Small Business for America’s Future, 60% of employers said the vaccine is key to a full economic recovery.

“People are turning to their employers for critical information. We see the doubling down on that now with the booster strategy as well,” said Rhett Buttle, a senior adviser at Small Business for America’s Future.

There may be more urgency now as the vaccines’ effectiveness against the new variant remains unclear.

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