Vaccination requirements by employers could boost stalling vaccine rates

61% of unvaccinated people are employed
Posted at 7:43 AM, Aug 27, 2021

COVID-19 vaccinations stalled after the spring, and Dr. Cheryl Holder knows it. She spoke to us between patients during her shift at the hospital.

“It comes from a lot of places of fear, concerns about government, lots of misinformation that’s spread in the community,” said Holder.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, about 3-in-10 adults are still not vaccinated at all.

“So about half of that group is really resistant to getting the vaccine. They say they’re definitely not going to get it. And then the other group is in the more wait and see [the] camp,” said Liz Hamel, the director of public opinion and survey research at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Broken downs by race, the unvaccinated population is nearly 60% white, 20% Hispanic, 13% Black, and 7% made up of members of other minority groups.

According to the data, unvaccinated individuals are less likely to be college-educated, are under 65, have lower incomes, and live in the suburbs.

Over the summer, dozens of major companies and government agencies announced they would require vaccinations for employees.

“We know that about 4 in 10 unvaccinated workers tell us they would get it if their employer required it,” said Hamel.

About 61% of unvaccinated people are employed. So, if vaccination requirements by employers are enforced, that could lead to a boost in stalling vaccination rates.

“There are other things that employers can do besides requiring it. Number one, offering paid time off for workers,” said Hamel, “and even just encouraging and providing information about how to get the vaccine.”

And attitudes could be changing among the unvaccinated, with the spread of the delta variant.

“On the ground, I’m seeing some improvement. Numbers are going up as we go out and even better getting more people listening to the questions and the answers. Where in the beginning I’d here, oh no, now I’m seeing folks taking a breather and say, maybe. So I’m optimistic,” said Holder.