The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) issued a new guidance document yesterday aimed at employers of essential workers—a COVID-19 vaccine communication toolbox.
Who is an “essential” worker?
Essential workers do the important work. They maintain the country’s daily needed services and functions. Examples include police officers, firefighters, and people working in education, child care centers, and grocery stores.
Why does this sector need a toolkit?
The stated purpose of this guidance is to assist employers of essential workers to inform and communicate with these employees about COVID-19 vaccines, addressing questions and meeting concerns.
It seems that the point is to educate workers in these sectors about the COVID-19 vaccine to allay fears and worries and tout its benefits for workers themselves and society in general.
This CDC guidance is worth a careful look.
NOT that I’m burying the lede. I would never do that! You can find the guidance on the CDC’s site here, and, I have to say, it’s comprehensive.
The guidance includes a slide deck that employers can customize, which contains basic facts about COVID-19 vaccines. There is a set of FAQs for you, as the employer, and a separate set of FAQs for employees. Each answers common and critical questions workers (and most people) may have from various benefits to vaccine programs to whether an employer can require workers get vaccinated.
Hint to this last one: it’s likely that employers can require workers to get a COVID-19 vaccine, subject to accommodations for a disability or a sincerely held religious belief. Eric Meyer and I told you all about that last month, here.
The employer FAQs answer questions about requiring proof if someone says they’ve been vaccinated and returning to workplaces post-vaccination.
The CDC guidance also contains sample letters to employees about an employer’s vaccine program, social media messages, and, naturally, posters. Who doesn’t love posters?
Employers of essential workers, and, really, employers in general, this CDC guidance includes a treasure trove of critical COVID-19 vaccine information, and I, for one, am going to dig into it over the weekend.