Companies Should Require Employees to be Vaccinated


Pamina Yung, Staff Writer

With both Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines having received approval by the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use in the U.S. back in December 2020, vaccines are now available to the public and are gradually being administered to millions at a time. 

There has been a long-lasting controversy about vaccines caused by some people refusing vaccines for themselves or their children due to misinformation, misconception, or mere mistrust. But what happens when future circumstances, such as permission to return to the workplace, rely on getting vaccinated?

On Dec. 16, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updated a publication that “now includes a new section providing information to employers and employees about how a COVID-19 vaccination interacts with the legal requirements of the… Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).” It essentially explains how and why companies can now ban unvaccinated employees from the workplace.

Before letting employees physically return to work full time, companies are urging them to get vaccinated. Many companies have devised and are relying on incentives to encourage vaccinations. Some of these employee incentives include monetary allowances. Neighborhood grocery stores such as Aldi, Trader Joe’s, Dollar General, and Instacart are doing just that. Aldi and Trader Joe’s are offering hourly workers two hour’s pay per dose of vaccine and will adjust work schedules accordingly to allow workers to attend vaccine appointments. 

Dollar General is giving its workers four hours of pay to compensate for travel time and mileage along with child care expenses and arrangements. 

“We do not want our employees to have to choose between receiving a vaccine or coming to work,” said the Dollar General company.

Meanwhile, Instacart will pay its employees who go to get a vaccine $25 to compensate for the time taken off. 

“With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise across the country, we’re taking proactive steps to advocate that government agencies recognize Instacart shoppers as critical essential workers who deserve early access to vaccines,” said Apoorva Mehta, the CEO and founder of Instacart. 

Besides overall safety, there is another big reason why companies are urging their employees to get vaccinated. If a worker is vaccinated but still manages to contract COVID-19 at the workplace, that worker can simply self-quarantine at home for two weeks while the building is thoroughly sanitized and other workers are tested. However, if an unvaccinated worker catches COVID-19 in the workplace and reaches a level of sickness that leads to hospitalization, the company would have to take full responsibility.

Liabilities aside, employees eligible for a vaccine should get one, simply out of consideration for the health and well-being of their co-workers. This is especially important for jobs where customers regularly make physical contact or must be in close proximity with employees. The new vaccines are currently our nation’s biggest hope for drastically slowing the spread of COVID-19.


Photo courtesy of BBC.COM