Vaccinating the U.S. workforce will go a long way in helping the country achieve herd immunity.
Others, including Amazon, Uber and DoorDash, go one step further by pressuring state officials to get vaccines for their workers. Companies in the retail, airline, restaurant and meatpacking sectors also lobbies for priority access.
the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently published orientation that paves the way for how companies will be able to make a Covid vaccine available free of charge to all eligible employees.
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And yet, for now, “getting the vaccine is a distribution issue,” said John Ho, labor and employment attorney at Cozen O’Connor in New York and chairman of the OSHA Practice Group of the firm.
“If you can get help from the private sector, so much the better,” he added. “Once it’s widely available, it’s a win-win.”
Laura Boudreau, assistant professor of economics at Columbia Business School, said: “We’re still at a distribution stage where it can be difficult to do that, but I think we’ll see some big companies go down that road.”
In a new survey of employers, nearly 80% said they would explore ways to provide vaccines to employees, and 28% said they would consider purchasing vaccines privately, according to consultancy Willis. Towers Watson.
“Employers are almost universally seeking to facilitate vaccination,” said Jeff Levin-Scherz, head of population health at Willis Towers Watson.
These employers, especially those with large, public-facing or high-risk workforces, will be in the best position to offer on-site vaccinations, Willis Towers Watson also found.
Still, it could be some time before supply catches up with demand, leaving many companies waiting for weeks or even months.
“As long as vaccines remain in short supply, most employers won’t try to cut the line,” Levin-Scherz said.
Ultimately, it is up to states to decide how vaccines are distributed.