What If Someone Tells You They Refuse To Get Vaccinated
This can be one of the most difficult situations to deal with whether with family or friends.
In Canada, vaccine uptake is quite strong. According to the most recent survey by the Angus Reid Institute, 71 per cent of Canadians have either had their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or would like to be inoculated as soon as possible.
But in some parts of the country, there is greater hesitancy. In Alberta, for example, about 30 per cent of people say they will not be vaccinated or are unsure about it roughly double the national average of 16 per cent.
Viswanath says if someone is firmly opposed to the vaccine, it’s probably not worth trying to convince them. But if they are simply hesitant about the COVID-19 shot, he advises patience and openness. Listen to them and find out what their concern is.
“They may have concerns that you try to address as best as you can,” he said.
“You just have to keep engaging them. I really, really strongly believe this,” he said. “This is a time when you can’t turn your back away from people…. They will be receptive at some point.”
Asking Candidates Whether They Are Vaccinated During A Job Interview
Businesses can only ask candidates if they are vaccinated when this is justified by the requirements of the role. For example, if a business decides, following a COVID-19 exposure risk assessment, that certain work cannot be performed by an unvaccinated worker, it may be reasonable to ask about an applicants vaccination status. This information will need to be collected and handled according to the Privacy Act.
Exceptions To Vaccine Requirements
Entities that require proof of vaccination can also choose to allow unvaccinated people to do something in lieu of getting a vaccine.
For instance, health care workers who opt out of flu vaccination requirements might have to request a medical or religious exemption to do so, and wear a mask at work when influenza cases in the community are high.
And states can set conditions such as mandatory education of parents about the dangers of disease and the safety of vaccines, or certification that they have a religious objection before allowing unvaccinated children to attend school.
You May Like: How Much Is Pneumonia Vaccine At Walgreens
Im Healthy And Not At Higher Risk For Serious Disease Should I Get A Booster
Personally, this describes my situation and Im getting one.
If you got two shots of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, as I did, youre already fairly well-protected from severe Covid-19 outcomes. The main thing a booster does is make you less likely to get infected and sick but thats still good to have.
We have a lot more data on these vaccines than we did when they were first approved. We know that they generally remain very effective against severe illness and death even a year after someone gets two shots. But they do wane in effectiveness against infection. Six months after your second dose, the vaccine is less protective against catching Covid-19 and, perhaps, virus spread.
Thats because antibody levels in the blood decline over time. Experts disagree on how much peopleshould worry about that. Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia, told me that a healthy, functioning immune system gradually prunes blood antibodies for infections the body hasnt encountered, and it doesnt mean you wont fight off Covid-19 just fine .
This lukewarm recommendation becomes a much stronger one for older adults and others at elevated risk from Covid-19 due to their health or setting. If your immune system functions less well, then at least one additional shot might be needed just to get your immune system to the level of readiness that other people were at after two shots. Thats well worth it.
Could An Employee Be Terminated For Refusing To Have A Covid
Being terminated for not having the vaccine is a possibility in some states, but employees could potentially take legal action against their employer for wrongful termination. The Food and Drug Administration fast-tracked the approval process for COVID-19 vaccines through an Emergency Use Authorization , otherwise approval of live-saving vaccines would have been delayed.
The EUA requires a drug or vaccine to be accompanied with information for individuals about their right to refuse and to be told about the consequences of such a refusal. The wording of the EUA in this case could be interpreted in different ways, and wrongful termination lawsuits based on the refusal to be vaccinated are a possibility although yet to be tested in the courts.
There is also an issue that could arise if a substantial portion of the workforce refuses the vaccine. An employer would then have to decide whether to terminate all of those employees or none at all. If only certain employees were to be terminated for refusing the vaccine on non-medical or non-religious ground, there could well be valid claims that individuals have been discriminated against.
Read Also: What Age Should Child Get Hpv Vaccine
The Legacy Of Smallpox
The 1918 influenza pandemic has gotten a lot of attention for its similarity to the COVID-19 pandemic and the power of masking and reduced public gatherings to flatten the curve of cases. Thats a phrase that Markel co-invented after studying the impact of preventive efforts in 1918 and 1919.
But for vaccination privacy, the history of smallpox is a better comparison, he says. That disease plagued humankind for thousands of years and killed one in three people who caught it, before worldwide vaccination eradicated it in the late 1970s.
No one is saying all Americans must get vaccinated against COVID-19, unlike the mandatory smallpox vaccination requirements of the early 20th century that made it possible for the entire United States to become free of outbreaks by the late 1940s.
The Supreme Court affirmed the right of health departments to require smallpox vaccination way back in 1905.
‘is The Company Considering A Vaccine Mandate’
Ultimately, companies can avoid these uncomfortable conversations by setting rules and mandates and clearly communicating them to employees.
“Consider talking to your employer to establish what the norms are in your company,” Brewer says. “It would be particularly helpful if this information is collected by the employer rather than by individuals trying to guess.”
Before bringing employees back to the office, companies should send out surveys to determine how many people are vaccinated, and make their stance on vaccine mandates clear. Organizations then need to actually heed that input from employees at every level of experience, tenure, gender, race, ethnicity and age when making these decisions, Dr. Perry Halkitis, dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health, told CNBC Make It in July.
From a legal standpoint, employers can mandate Covid vaccinations for employees, so long as they provide reasonable accommodations for people with medical conditions or religious convictions that prevent them from getting vaccinated. Not following your company’s protocol can have consequences beyond endangering coworkers three staffers at CNN were fired on Thursday for coming to work unvaccinated.
Don’t Miss: Where Can I Get A Meningitis Vaccine
Can Employers Ask Applicants Are You Vaccinated
You weathered the storm that blew through your workplace when you told your employees they needed to get vaccinated. You read the stories about Delta Air, Chevron, UPS, Goldman Sachs and other major employers that made full vaccination a condition of employment. Like 59% of 1,000 small business owners included in one survey, you plan to sidestep future problems by hiring only vaccinated employees.
Youve been pleasantly surprised by the many candidates who note on their applications theyve been vaccinated. You wonder is it OK to ask applicants who dont supply their vaccination status if theyve been vaccinated?
Youre not alone in your hesitancy to make job offers when you dont know a candidates vaccination status. According to ResumeBuilder.com, one-third of 1,250 hiring managers surveyed automatically throw out resumes that dont indicate an applicants vaccination status.
Heres what you need to know. Although the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission allows employers to ask employees about their vaccination status and for proof of vaccination, the rules differ for applicants.
This picture changes when your applicants voluntarily disclose their vaccination status, as long as you dont require or request them to do so and fairly consider candidates who dont voluntarily disclose their vaccination status.
The vaccination issue its a minefield for employers, employees and applicants. Exercise caution with questions that might detonate your hiring process.
What If Im The One Being Invited Out
This is a trickier situation. If your friend suggests a restaurant, ask them if there is outdoor seating. That might prompt them to be transparent about their vaccine situation, Scholz said. If they dont pick up the hint, and insist on indoor options, you might be more comfortable declining the offer. This is where public health ethics and social ethics are converging, Scholz said. We feel an obligation to meet people halfway. But right now public health ethics trumps social ethics. So while it might not be OK to ask them if theyve been vaccinated, its not rude to turn the invitation down if you dont feel you have adequate information to make a decision thats in the best interest of your health.
This is where public health ethics and social ethics are converging.
Sally Scholz, chair and professor of philosophy and ethics at Villanova University
Also Check: How Often Do Adults Need Tdap Vaccine
Handling Dining Out And Events
How can I politely say no to plans for gathering in public?
Start by determining your boundaries in advance, says Headlee. What situations would you be okay with? What would make you feel uncomfortable?
If you are not comfortable, Headlee says, you can put the no on yourself as a way to avoid any appearance of passing judgment on the other persons decisions.
What is the guidance for mannerly dining out?
Do some research in advance to see what the businesss protocols may be for indoor or outdoor dining. Some places ask diners to order from their phone, for example. Others have restrictions on the number of people who can sit at one table, or may be requiring proof of vaccination.
The CDC recommends that customers wear their masks at a restaurant whenever they are not eating or drinking regardless of whether they are dining indoors or out. You should also wear a mask whenever you are interacting with restaurant staff or walking to the restroom, says Fritz Hahn, who covers bars and nightlife for The Post.
Extra safety measures at bars and restaurants might mean service is a bit slower than usual, Tiffanie Barriere, a longtime bartender and bar and brand consultant in Atlanta, told The Post. The restaurant also might be short-staffed, so be patient. And, remember to tip generously for the service.
Yes, its financial transaction,” Coggins says. But its also gratuity. Its gratitude.
What Does Hipaa Cover
Most people encounter HIPAA when signing consent forms at their doctors office. Typically, that is the extent of their exposure to this law or any other that governs health care and their privacy. So theres a lot of misapplication and misunderstanding in terms of what HIPAA does, said Matthew Fisher, who serves as general counsel for Carium, a telehealth platform company, and has practiced health care law for more than a decade.
Heres who HIPAA regulates:
- Health insurance companies, Medicare, Medicaid or employers who run self-funded health plans
- Business associates, such as health care providers, hospitals, nursing homes or anyone actually delivering a health care service
- Subcontractors of business associates, such as health care clearinghouses or billing companies that may transfer patient data
Thats it. It doesnt apply to conversations you might have on the street, said Margaret Riley, a professor of law at the University of Virginia and serves as legal advisor for the schools Health Sciences Institutional Review Board.
I can ask you on the street what your vaccine status is. I can ask you in my business what your vaccine status is. If Im not your supervisor, thats not a violation because I have no impact on you, Riley said. On the other hand, you have no obligation to answer me.
The National Football League announced late last month it would penalize teams if they had COVID-19 outbreaks among unvaccinated players.
Read Also: Who Should Not Get Meningitis Vaccine
If Im Healthy And Get A Booster Am I Taking A Dose Away From Someone Who Needs It More
A lot of Covid-19 questions are complicated, but heres one thing we can be fairly sure of: Your booster shot, if you choose to get one, is very likely not directly coming at the expense of other people, experts told me.
The concern stems from the fact that many people in the US will be getting their third shot when about half of the world hasnt had even one shot. Thats not just an injustice and a humanitarian wrong, its also strategically foolish: Virus variants can develop more easily when Covid-19 cases are high, and vaccines are the most effective way to lower them.
Why are rich countries still monopolizing Covid-19 vaccines?
If skipping a booster would get that shot to someone in a poor country instead, Id prefer to do that.
But thats not really how vaccine allocation works. Many months ago, the US placed orders with Moderna and Pfizer for millions of doses of their vaccines. Other countries and international organizations did the same.
Those orders, experts told me, are being fulfilled in the order they were placed so if Moderna is committed to delivering 20 million doses to the US first, then 10 million to France next, thats the order they will send them. And if the US orders additional doses now in response to increased demand from booster-getters like us, that request will be at the back of the queue.
And within the US, we have plenty of supply of mRNA vaccines at this point so getting a booster isnt taking one from your neighbors either.
Requiring Vaccination For New Employees
Employers can require vaccination as a term of new employment agreements, but this must be reasonable for the role . This must not be unlawful discrimination under the Human Rights Act.
The New Zealand Bill of Rights Act may also apply. Under this Act, everyone has the right to refuse medical treatment, including vaccination, though this right can be subject to justified limits.
Read Also: What Is The Tdap Vaccine Made Of
Can An Employee Refuse To Tell Their Employer About Their Vaccine Status
Under HIPAA , employers are permitted to ask employees about their vaccine status, but employees are not required to provide that information to their employer. There could, however, be consequences for failing to provide that information to an employer. An employee who refuses to say whether they have received the COVID-19 vaccine may well be treated in the same way as an individual who has refused the vaccine on non-medical or non-religious grounds.
Why Are Some States Introducing Their Own Laws About Proof Of Vaccination
Some states have taken the view that, because COVID vaccines do not guarantee 100% protection against the virus, proof of vaccination only demonstrates an individual is less likely to contract and transmit the virus. It is also the case nobody knows for sure how long vaccine-induced immunity lasts. Therefore, it is possible an individual with a vaccine passport can still present a risk of infection.
Steve Alder has many years of experience as a journalist, and comes from a background in market research. He is a specialist on legal and regulatory affairs, and has several years of experience writing about HIPAA. Steve holds a B.Sc. from the University of Liverpool.
Don’t Miss: How Many People In Texas Have Been Vaccinated
Questions About Health Issues Related To The Vaccine
Employers must be open and communicative and respond to workers in good faith where issues are raised by workers, including related to vaccination.
This does not mean employers/PCBUs need to debate or provide detailed answers to questions about the vaccination, its safety, and/or its effectiveness as a control against infection/transmission/severe illness.
Where detailed medical questions are raised, an employer/PCBU can rely upon expert public health advice for those matters and can point workers who are concerned to that information.
Employers/PCBUs should consider providing a worker with access to someone who can deliver this advice in a way that is readily understood, if that was reasonable and practicable in the circumstances. This could include a medical practitioner.
An employer/PCBU can then focus any good faith conversation on whether a worker will be vaccinated to do work covered by the Vaccinations Order, or where the PCBU has required that specified work is only done by vaccinated workers for health and safety reasons, following a health and safety risk assessment.
Can Employers Ask Staff Whether They Have Been Vaccinated
- 4 August 20214 August 2021
With the lifting of the working from home guidance in England, the high COVID infection rates across the UK and the government advising that double vaccinations reduce significantly the risk of both catching and spreading the virus, it is likely that many employers will start to reconsider whether they want to ask their staff about vaccination status so that they can factor this information into their risk assessments to make the workplace as COVID-secure as possible.
The governments recent announcement that from the end of September entry to nightclubs may require evidence of double vaccination, the large uptake of the vaccine in the UK amongst the adult population, compulsory vaccinations in care homes from 11 November 2021, and the changes in France are also relevant considerations and factors in shifting a culture in the UK which has previously been very much against any requesting of information regarding vaccinations.
But so that employers can collect this data in compliance with data protection laws, it will be essential to assess why the data is needed.
Can it be lawful to ask for vaccine information?
Yes, it is possible and can be lawful provided that you have made an assessment of why the data is being captured, and you have decided that it is necessary to capture this data, and the relevant lawful bases are established.
Why are you collecting the data?
Do you have lawful reasons for processing the data?
You May Like: Where Can I Get My Pet Vaccinated