HRE’s number of the day: Mandated COVID-19 vaccines

54: Percentage of Americans who think employers should require their workers to get a COVID-19 vaccine

More than half of Americans think employers should require non-remote employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a new survey of 2,000 adults from Sykes, an outsourcing firm.

What it means to HR leaders

With a COVID-19 vaccine now approved in the U.S., employers and HR professionals are strategizing ways to encourage employees to get the vaccine as well as discussing if they might be able to require it for certain employees. A variety of surveys indicate getting employees to buy into the vaccine, though, is a hard job. A recent EBRI survey, for instance, finds nearly a quarter (24%) of employees say they will not get the vaccine. Nine percent say it depends, and 12% are still unsure about their vaccination decision.

Experts say employers can–and should–make a difference in getting employees on board to receive a vaccine. Communicating factual information about the vaccines to employees–including about safety and efficiency–and citing medical experts and organizations, like the CDC, can help. Tying the vaccine into wellness programs and offering employees incentives for taking it may also drive rates up.

Making it mandatory for employees to get the COVID vaccine also may make a significant impact, says A.J. Hanna, vice president of client advocacy at Sykes.

Related: HR’s next big job: Convincing employees to get COVID vaccines

“Many Americans are certainly in a wait and see mindset–however, hesitant Americans told us they can be convinced to get vaccinated against COVID-19,” he says. “Of those respondents who told us they don’t plan to receive a vaccine, a significant number of them say they may choose to do so if people they know receive it without issue or if their employer required it.”

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Kathryn Mayer
Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s former benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver.