A collection of frequently asked questions to help employers and employees navigate the COVID-19 vaccine in the workplace. Browse questions below or submit your own.
Should my business require employees to get vaccinated?
It will be important for employers to assess whether an employee vaccination program makes sense for their specific job function/service. Employers will need to provide a reason for requiring employees to receive the vaccine. Watch the COVID-19 Town Hall with Michelle L. Kolkmeyer of Bodman’s Workplace Law Group for more information.
What are some exceptions for employees not to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
- Medical reasons: Employees with certain medical conditions or sensitivities to vaccines may choose to request an exception. In response, the employer should be ready to offer other precautions such as additional PPE or working from home.
- Religious or faith-based reasons: Employees with sincerely held religious beliefs may choose to request an exemption.
What can employers do to encourage employees to get the COVID vaccine?
- Explain the benefits: The COVID-19 vaccine is the key to ending the pandemic and saving lives.
- Reassure employees the vaccine is safe: All vaccines undergo a series of safety trials before approval. An independent Data Monitoring Committee (DMC) reviews clinical trial data to confirm it is safe before vaccines are submitted for FDA authorization.
- Be flexible with schedules: Employees may need to adjust their schedule for their first or second dose of the vaccine
Who is currently eligible for vaccination?
- On Jan. 11, Michigan moved into a new phase of vaccination. Residents age 65 and older, frontline essential workers including police officers, first responders, frontline state and federal workers and jail and prison staff, and preK-12 teachers and childcare providers are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.
- The first phase of widespread vaccination began with healthcare workers in December, 2020.
- The next phase of vaccination focused on essential works and vulnerable populations.
- The state’s goal is to have 70% of Michigan adults vaccinated by the end of 2021.
How can I be sure the vaccine is safe?
- Both Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines have undergone a series of safety trials.
- The Pfizer/BioNTech clinical trials involved 42,000 participants and yielded a 95% success rate. Moderna announced a 94% success rate based on clinical trials involving 30,000 participants.
- An independent Data Monitoring Committee (DMC) reviewed clinical trial data to confirm it is safe before the vaccines were submitted for FDA authorization.
What are possible side effects of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines?
- Muscle soreness
It should be noted, although mild and temporary, side effects are fairly common with this vaccine. Unlike the flu shot, many people may feel tired, develop a mild fever, and experience headaches. These side effects are normal and indicate the vaccine is doing its job. Due to these potential side effects, however, employers should be understanding and as flexible as possible if an employee does not feel well enough to come into work or log on immediately after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Can children receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
In general, no. To receive the Pfizer vaccine, individuals must be 16 years or older. To receive the Moderna vaccine, individuals must be 18 years or older.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Can the vaccine doses be mixed? For example, If I receive the Pfizer vaccine for my first dose, can I receive the Moderna vaccine for my second dose?
No, the vaccine doses cannot be mixed. Whichever vaccine you receive for your first dose is the same vaccine you must receive for your second. Mixing the vaccines will reduce the effectiveness.
James Grant, senior vice president and chief medical officer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
How much will the COVID-19 vaccine cost?
At this time, the COVID-19 vaccine will be no cost for patients. The federal government is covering the cost of the vaccine and insurance carriers are required to cover the cost of administering the vaccine.
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