According to a May 2021 report from the National Safety Council (NSC), the organization “cautiously supports” the CDC’s May 2021 recommendations that fully vaccinated individuals can relax safety protocols, such as mask wearing and social distancing.
However, according to the NSC, “While this news further elevates the important role vaccines play in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and assisting workplaces to return to full and open operation, it does not take away any of the complexity out of managing the safety of a partially vaccinated workforce.”
In fact, the NSC offered three additional recommendations to employers to ensure the safety of all workers:
Continue to take a risk-based approach based upon their specific work environment.
Be prepared to verify their employees’ vaccination status, while still complying with all relevant laws and regulations.
Continue to foster a workplace culture of safety and inclusivity where all workers, no matter their vaccination status, feel protected and supported.
The NSC also noted that, according to the “KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor,” the top reasons that individuals who are eager to receive the vaccine have not yet tried to get an appointment include: not having enough time (14%), being unable to take time off work (12%) and simply “not getting around to it” (9%). (The “KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor” is an ongoing research project tracking the public’s attitudes and experiences with COVID-19 vaccinations.)
“Employers can remove these barriers by offering paid time off for immunization and recovery, hosting on-site vaccination clinics, helping with scheduling and transportation, and supporting peer-to-peer vaccination promotion efforts,” stated the NSC.
The NSC added that vaccines are the clearest route to a safe, productive return to the workplace. In fact, as part of its “SAFER” effort, the NSC called on employers to do more to encourage employees to get vaccinated.
“It is clear employers can play a direct role in helping to encourage vaccine uptake, especially if they deploy policies and approaches that are backed by public health research,” said Lorraine Martin, president and CEO of the NSC. “Ultimately, following this guidance will allow in-person workplaces to collaborate safely again, benefiting workers, businesses and the entire American economy.”