Vaccines in the Workplace – Should I Get One?
The march to herd immunity is on. Millions of Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. And, in a matter of days, anyone over the age of 16 will be eligible to receive one.
It has been a long, painful, and trying year and that light at the end of the tunnel does not appear to be an oncoming train. This begs the question – now that I can get vaccinated, should I?
We are not framing this in the context of any sort of anti-vax sentiment. As is the purpose of this blog, we are looking at this decision as a part of workplace culture. While many companies in the tech field have opted in for a more permanent work from home culture, the vast majority of businesses either can’t or won’t adopt that strategy.
The workforce does seem to have a different attitude about returning to the workplace. This post from Ring Central will give you an idea where workers stand: https://www.ringcentral.com/us/en/blog/7-remote-work-statistics-you-should-know/
However, in the end, this is likely going to be an individual decision. Full disclosure, I chose to get the vaccine – even though I am a permanent remote worker. As such, I am an advocate for getting the vaccine. The quicker we reach that tipping point of herd immunity, the faster we will get back to some sense of normalcy.
Based on the knowledge we currently have, getting the vaccine can promote a sense of freedom. Freedom from fear of getting sick – or worse. Freedom to interact with our friends and co-workers. Freedom to get back to at least some of our old habits.
There are responsibilities that come with these freedoms. In a legal sense, your employer could require you to get vaccinated. Though laws vary by state the Supreme Court ruled on this twice. In December 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued updated guidance that supports the conclusion that employers may require vaccines in the workplace – so long as there are exceptions available to the mandate. (https://www.natlawreview.com/article/vaccinations-workplace)
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has also released these guidelines: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/vaccines/toolkits/FAQs-for-Employers_EW-Toolkit_508.pdf
A fully vaccinated workforce allows teams to get off Zoom and spend more time interacting. Though remote working does not seem to have had an adverse effect on productivity it seems logical to assume that getting the band back together will yield positive results. At the very least everyone will have something to talk about for a few weeks…
Looking at it from a Goodwill lens, the organization operates a large nonprofit, a chain of retail stores, a custodial business, and a high school. Not everyone wants to get the vaccine. So like you, Goodwill is doing its best to educate, inform, and encourage – not mandate. The organization hopes that everyone will see the benefits of getting a vaccine, but understands the hesitation of those who choose not to. Goodwill anticipates that the more people get vaccinated without lingering issues, the more likely those on the fence will be to getting vaccinated themselves. The organization is already starting to see that transition.
As I stated earlier on – getting the vaccine is a personal decision. One that not only affects your life but those around you.