Workplace COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit
Information for Employers and Employees
CDC recommends everyone ages 12 and older get vaccinated as soon as possible to help protect against COVID-19 and the related, potentially severe complications that can occur. Strong confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines within your workplace leads to more people getting vaccinated, which is an important tool to help stop the pandemic. By providing information about COVID-19 vaccination and establishing supportive policies and practices, employers can help more workers get vaccinated. Getting fully vaccinated can reduce the risk of spreading the virus that causes COVID-19, which can protect other people around you. Learn what people can do when they are fully vaccinated.
Whether vaccination is offered at the workplace or in the community, employers should:
- Offer flexible, non-punitive sick leave options (such as paid sick leave) for employees experiencing side effects after vaccination.
- Allow time for vaccine confidence to grow. Workers who are hesitant at first may become more confident after seeing coworkers get vaccinated. Employers with an on site clinic should offer more than one opportunity for vaccination. Mobile clinics can return to a worksite multiple times on a rotating schedule. Employers using community locations can provide supportive policies (such as paid leave and transportation support) for an extended period of time.
- Ask organizations and individuals who are respected in employee communities to help you build confidence in COVID-19 vaccines.
- Encourage leaders in your workplace to be vaccine champions, and talk with others about COVID-19 vaccines.
- Proactively address and reduce the spread and harm of misinformation by sharing credible and accurate information.
- Encourage everyone to enroll in v-safe after their COVID-19 vaccination. Share the answers to the frequently asked questions about v-safe.
- Review additional tips for how to build vaccine confidence in the workplacepdf icon.
Consider a workplace vaccination program if you have:
- A large number of workers on site with predictable schedules
- The ability to enroll in your local health department’s immunization program as a vaccination provider, including appropriately trained staff, or to engage an enrolled vaccination provider
- A location with enough space to stand up a vaccination clinic while maintaining social distancing through the entire process, from screening to post-vaccination observation. See CDC guidance for temporary vaccination clinics for more detail.
Vaccination on site at the workplace can include:
- Existing occupational health clinics
- Employer-run temporary vaccination clinics
- Mobile vaccination clinics brought to the workplace
- Get input during the planning process for hosting a workplace COVID-19 vaccination clinic from management, human resources, employees, and labor representatives, if present.
- Contact the health department in your jurisdiction for guidance.
- Partner with community vaccination provider/vendor. These providers typically deliver worksite flu vaccination services and are expanding to provide COVID-19 vaccination. They have trained nursing staff available in all jurisdictions, can bill insurance for administration fees, and can report vaccine administration data to immunization information systems.
- Vaccination providers must prepare to monitor for and manage potential anaphylaxis after vaccination. Anaphylaxis, an acute and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction, has been reported rarely following COVID-19 vaccination.
- Workplace vaccination clinics must offer vaccination at no charge and during work hours.
- Provide easy access to vaccination for all people working at the workplace, regardless of their status as a contractor or temporary employee.
- See the National Institutes of Health’s Key Elements of a Model Workplace Safety and Health COVID-19 Vaccination Programexternal icon.
Consider off site vaccination if you:
- Are a small- or medium-sized organization that does not have the resources to host a vaccination clinic
- Have mobile worker populations that frequently move from one job site to the next
- Have workers with highly variable schedules
- Have a majority of workers who would prefer vaccination in a community clinic rather than an employer-run clinic
Vaccination off site in the community includes:
- Mobile/temporary vaccination clinics set up at community locations (closed or open to the public)
- Pharmacies enrolled in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program
- Hospitals and healthcare provider offices
- Federally Qualified Health Centersexternal icon and other community clinics
If hosting a vaccination clinic at your workplace is not possible, consider other steps to encourage vaccination, listed below:
- Allow employees to get vaccinated during work hours or take paid leave to get vaccinated at a community site.
- Support transportation to offsite vaccination clinics, such as paying fares for taxis or ridesharing services, ensuring employees can maintain social distancing. Check with your health department(s) about potential assistance, such as a mobile clinic or transportation support.
- Post articles in company communications (e.g., newsletters, intranet, emails, portals) about the importance of COVID-19 vaccination, as well as how and where to get vaccinated in the community.
- Educate and help workers make their appointments.
- Ensure employees know that COVID-19 vaccine is provided free of charge. They should not be asked to pay any fee, including a vaccine administration fee, and cannot be denied vaccine if they do not have insurance coverage. Providers may bill their insurance plan or program for the administration fee if they have insurance.
- Identify other potential barriers unique to your workforce and implement policies and practices to address them.
Avoid Worker Shortages due to Possible Vaccine Side Effects
Consider staggering employee vaccination to avoid worker shortages due to possible vaccine side effects.
Side effects may affect your employees’ ability to do daily activities, but they should go away within a few days. Some people have no side effects. We encourage employers to provide flexible leave policies for those who may have post-vaccination side effects. Please see CDC guidance for further information.
Continuity of Operations during Vaccination of Employees
To help ensure continuity of operations, facilities may consider staggering vaccination for employees in the same job category or who work in the same area of a facility. Staggering vaccination for employees may cause delays in vaccinating your staff, and the decision to stagger vaccination will need to be weighed against potential inconveniences that might reduce vaccine acceptance. Facilities should evaluate their specific situation when determining their best approach. Facilities that choose to stagger vaccine administration should also ensure all employees receive the recommended number of doses.
Vaccinations for Contractors and Temporary Employees
If you plan to offer vaccination at your workplace, provide vaccination to all people working at the workplace regardless of their status as a contract or temporary employee. For workers employed by contract firms or temporary help agencies, the staffing agency and the host employer are joint employers and, therefore, both are responsible for providing and maintaining a safe work environment. The extent of the responsibilities the staffing agency and the host employer have will vary, depending on the workplace conditions, and should be described in their contract (Protecting Temporary Workerspdf icon).
COVID-19 Vaccines Are Not Mandated Under Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs)
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not mandate vaccination. However, whether a state, local government, or employer, for example, may require or mandate COVID-19 vaccination is a matter of state or other applicable law.
Employer Vaccine Mandates and Proof of Vaccination
Whether an employer may require or mandate COVID-19 vaccination is a matter of state or other applicable law. If an employer requires employees to provide proof that they have received a COVID-19 vaccination from a pharmacy or their own healthcare provider, the employer cannot mandate that the employee provide any medical information as part of the proof.
Employee Medical Conditions or Religious Beliefs Exemptions
Two types of exemptions can be implemented:
- Medical exemptions
Some people may be at risk for an adverse reaction because of an allergy to one of the vaccine components or a medical condition. This is referred to as a medical exemption.
- Religious exemptions
Some people may decline vaccination because of a religious belief. This is referred to as a religious exemption.
Employers offering vaccination to workers should keep a record of the offer to vaccinate and the employee’s decision to accept or decline vaccination.
Guidance on Exemptions
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) provides guidance on mandatory vaccination against H1N1 influenza. The EEOC guidance may be applicable to COVID-19 vaccination, which became available in December 2020. Learn more about EEOC’s Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Actexternal icon.
For employers covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), “…an employee may be entitled to an exemption based on an ADA disability that prevents him from taking the influenza vaccine.”
For employers covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, “once an employer receives notice that an employee’s sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance prevents him from taking the influenza vaccine, the employer must provide a reasonable accommodation unless it would pose an undue hardship.”
See question 13 in the Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Actexternal icon for more information from the EEOC.
After people are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, they can resume many activities that they did before the pandemic. They can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
These recommendations are not intended for healthcare settings.