Since the COVID-19 vaccine rollout began in December, many people in the U.S. have joined waitlists to ensure they receive the vaccine when their turn comes around. However, not everyone is lining up to get the jab and construction workers, including glaziers, are among the least likely groups to be vaccinated once a COVID-19 vaccine is made available to them, according to a recent poll.
Morning Consult polling found that 56% of all employed adults are willing to get the vaccine, but the results varied greatly when looking at specific industries. Essential workers were the most wary of the vaccine, with 47% of food and beverage workers; 50% of transportation workers; 52% of retail workers; and 53% of construction workers saying they would be willing to be vaccinated.
College and post-grad educated employees are the most likely to get the vaccine, with 77% saying they would once it’s available to them. Workers in the technology (75%), financial services (74%), insurance (67%) and public administration (66%) industries also are more likely to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to Morning Consult, workplaces could play an important role in ensuring that employees get the COVID-19 vaccine. The government has also issued guidance stating that employers can make the vaccine mandatory, though there are many variables involved in issuing such a mandate.
“The ADA allows an employer to have a qualification standard that includes ‘a requirement that an individual shall not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of individuals in the workplace.’ However, if a safety-based qualification standard, such as a vaccination requirement, screens out or tends to screen out an individual with a disability, the employer must show that an unvaccinated employee would pose a direct threat due to a ‘significant risk of substantial harm to the health or safety of the individual or others that cannot be eliminated or reduced by reasonable accommodation,’” reads guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
However, another survey conducted by Morning Consult in January 2021 shows that only 41% of adults would find their employer more favorable if their employer offered employees a financial incentive to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. That favorability percentage went down to 20% of all U.S. adults when considering a situation in which their employer mandated that employees receive the vaccine.
In a recent “Vaccination Q&As for Construction Employers” document released by the Associated General Contractors of America, the organization recommends that employers looking to encourage employees to get vaccinated rather than requiring them to do so, educate employees about the benefits and safety of the vaccine, especially compared to the risks of not being vaccinated.
“They should also explore ways to make it easier for employees to access the vaccines, such as providing information about local vaccination providers, arranging for mobile units or clinics at or near jobsites, paying for any vaccination costs, and allowing employees to get vaccinated during paid work hours,” reads the document. “Local health departments and hospitals may be helpful in arranging access, as may any labor union partners. Some employers are considering incentives to encourage employees to get vaccinated, but these efforts appear to be subject to HIPAA and EEOC rules regarding wellness programs, which can be complicated. Employers should confer with counsel before implementing incentives.”