Vaccinating Essential Temporary Workers

State, local, tribal, and territorial health departments can use the strategies described below to help ensure that temporary essential workers are vaccinated. Temporary workers are employed through temporary employment or by staffing agencies to work at a separate, third-party, “host” employer’s work site. Temporary workers are in virtually every industryexternal icon, often working alongside permanent employees hired directly by the host employer. The safety and health of temporary workers are the shared responsibilities of the staffing agency and host employer. Temporary workers should be prioritized for vaccination according to the primary industry activities at the site(s) where they work—not according to the industry category of the temporary employment or staffing agency through which they are employed.

Vaccination Strategies

Health departments should encourage host employers to vaccinate everyone who works on site, regardless of their work arrangement.

  • On-site vaccination: If host employers are offering on-site vaccination to employees, on-site temporary workers should be offered vaccination alongside permanent, direct-hire employees. If there isn’t enough vaccine supply for all eligible workers, prioritization should be given according to occupational risk (such as job requirements), age, or underlying health conditions rather than by work arrangement (for example, permanent vs. temporary).
  • Community-based vaccination: If host employers are not providing on-site vaccination, temporary workers should be encouraged to seek vaccination in the community. In states that are prioritizing essential workers for vaccination, temporary workers should be prioritized for vaccination based on the industry category of their host employer.

Communication Strategies

The best way for health departments to reach temporary workers is through the temporary employment agencies that employ them. Communicating information to temporary employment agencies through trusted sources, such as local staffing agency networksexternal icon and local chambers of commerceexternal icon, may be most effective. In addition to providing connections with temporary agencies, these groups are also likely to know which host employers use temporary workers in their operations.

  • Share accurate information about COVID-19 vaccination. The Facts about COVID-19 fact sheet is available in more than 20 languages, and CDC has additional educational materials available in the Essential Workers COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit.
  • Emphasize to temporary workers that COVID-19vaccines are available free of charge to all people living in the United States, regardless of their immigration or health insurance status. Workers 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 a worker’s insurance plan or program for an administration fee if they have insurance.
  • If documentation of the temporary worker’s work site is required for community-based vaccination, the health department coordinating vaccination services should communicate this to temporary employment agencies, host employers, and temporary workers. Temporary workers might not have employee identification badges for their host employer’s work site, but host employers and/or temporary agencies could supply letters or other proof of eligibility.
  • Minimize collection of personally identifiable information. Inform workers that race, ethnicity, or other information being collected is only being used to ensure fair and equitable vaccine distribution.
Page last reviewed: April 15, 2021