More than half of companies in the U.S. are planning to impose COVID-19 vaccine mandates on their employees by the end of the year, a new survey finds.
Researchers from Willis Towers Watson, a British multinational risk management, insurance brokerage and advisory company, polled nearly 1,000 companies who employ around 9.7 million people.
They found that by the fourth quarter of 2021, 52 percent of employers are planning or could have one or more vaccine mandate requirements
Mandates could range from requiring vaccination for staff to access common areas such as cafeterias to requiring vaccination for all employees.
It comes as some of the largest companies in the U.S. – such as Google’s parent Alphabet Inc and Facebook – require some or all staff to be vaccinated.
Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to the Pfizer Inc-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine,
Public health experts have stated repeatedly stated that such a move would accelerate vaccine mandates in the U.S.
‘We expect even more employers to institute vaccine mandates in the wake of FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine,’ Dr Jeff Levin-Sherz, Willis Towers Watson’s population health leader, said in a statement.
For the survey, Willis Towers Watson surveyed 961 U.S. employers between August 18 and August 25.
More than half, or 52 percent, of employers said they may be instituting one or more vaccine mandate requirements.
This is an increase from the 21 percent of employers who say they currently have vaccine mandates in place.
Nearly one-third of employers report that they are planning or considering making COVID-19 vaccines a requirement to enter the workplace.
And 21 percent said they either will or are thinking about requiring vaccinations of all new hires.
As for whether or not the companies will keep track of employee’s vaccination status – and how they will – answers vary.
Currently, 59 percent of employers said they are tracking workers’ vaccination status and 19 percent are planning or considering doing so by the end of 2021.
Most places of employment that are tracking – 62 percent – require workers to submit proof such as a photo of their vaccine card.
Another 36 percent are counting on their staff to self-report.
‘The Delta variant has made employers take new actions to keep their workers – and workplaces – safe and healthy,’ Levin-Sherz said
‘This is not an easy situation for employers to navigate. For instance, new policies such as tracking workers’ vaccinations can improve safety but also bring additional administrative requirements.
‘At the same time, employers will continue efforts to encourage vaccination and communicate regularly with employees.’
Earlier this month, President Joe Biden mandated companies with more than 100 workers to mandate vaccines or require weekly testing.
Several companies from media company Disney to bank Goldman Sachs to tech company Facebook to fast food chain McDonald’s have announced such mandates.