From CVS to Goldman Sachs, FDA decision calls for vaccine warrants


From Walt Disney World to Goldman Sachs, a slew of private and public employers are demanding workers get vaccinated against COVID-19 after the federal government fully endorsed Pfizer’s shot. And the number is sure to grow much higher.

For the past eight months, coronavirus vaccines have been dispensed in the United States under emergency clearance from the Food and Drug Administration. Some workers and unions opposed getting the vaccine – and some employers were reluctant to demand it – because it had not yet received full FDA approval. It happened on Monday.

“The FDA ruling takes that off the table,” said Devjani Mishra, a New York-based lawyer with Littler Mendelson, which specializes in workplace issues. She and others in business, law and healthcare predicted that more companies would mandate vaccines for their staff.

Shortly after the FDA acted, Walt Disney World struck a deal with its unions to demand that all workers at its theme park in Orlando, Florida be vaccinated.

Goldman Sachs told employees on Tuesday it would require anyone entering the bank‘s U.S. offices to be fully vaccinated starting September 7, according to a note obtained by the New York Times.

Drugstore chain CVS said pharmacists, nurses and other workers who come into contact with patients will need to be vaccinated. Oil giant Chevron Corp. said it would require some of its workers – such as those who travel overseas, live overseas, or work on its offshore platforms in the Gulf of Mexico – to get their COVID-19 snapshots.

“We took the ‘go’ when the FDA made this decision,” said Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, president of Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, who announced Monday that its 800 faculty members, 1,500 staff and 18,000 students will need to be vaccinated. Before that, only students living on campus had to be vaccinated.

She said the university could have legally mandated the vaccines before the FDA decision, but waited because Pescovitz, who is a pediatrician, believes the clearance will help persuade those still on the fence.

Ohio State University also announced Tuesday that it will require all students, faculty and staff to complete the full vaccination process by November 15. Ohio State is one of the largest universities in the country and is a major employer in Columbus, Ohio.

Health experts on Monday expressed hope that the FDA’s action would increase the vaccination rate in the United States, which reached about half a million shots per day in July, from a peak of 3, 4 million per day on average in April.

The number of shots administered has since climbed to around 850,000 per day amid growing alarm over the highly contagious delta variant, which has skyrocketed deaths, cases and hospitalizations, erasing months of progress.

Littler Mendelson released a survey on Monday showing that 9% of employers are already mandating vaccines for at least some of their workers, with a further 12% planning to impose some sort of mandate in the near future. As of January, just 1% of companies polled by Littler Mendelson had issued vaccine requirements.

There is a risk for employers at a time when many are struggling to fill vacancies and workers are confident they will find better jobs: when faced with a vaccine requirement, an employee might “say, ‘OK, fine. “. I’m leaving, “Mishra said.” It’s not a given that you will be able to hold this position with someone who is vaccinated. ”

But Ali Mokdad, professor of health metrics science at the University of Washington in Seattle, said he did not anticipate a backlash.

“People will see that money orders can open their businesses and save their paychecks. They will see the effects and they will be happy, ”he said.

Earlier this summer, President Joe Biden announced that federal workers will need to be vaccinated or face weekly tests and other measures.

The two largest private employers in the country do not appear to be moving. Walmart said Tuesday there was no change in its policy, which requires vaccinations for office workers but not for store workers. And Amazon, which does not impose vaccines on any of its employees, declined to comment.

As for the auto industry, Ford Motor Co. has said it does not require the vaccine, and General Motors has said it does not either, although CEO Mary Barra has kept it open. the possibility.

Career advice website Ladders Inc. published a study last week showing a more than 50-fold increase since January in job postings requiring candidates to be vaccinated.

Ladders spokeswoman Laurie Monteforte predicted that the need for vaccines would only increase after the FDA decision. Many employers, she said, have exhausted vaccine incentives such as bonuses or other perks.

Employers who demand vaccines have a strong legal foundation. Private companies and public employers can generally require that workers be vaccinated as a working condition there, although they must offer exemptions or accommodations in some cases.

Associated Press editors Carla K. Johnson, Anne D’Innocenzio, Tom Krisher and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar contributed to this story.

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