One reason that the start to the U.S. vaccination campaign has been so sluggish is that health care workers — among the first to be eligible — have proved more reluctant to get the inoculation than expected.Some are concerned with the newness of the vaccines. Others are worried about potential side effects. And the failure to get the virus under control has eroded their trust in the groups now urging them to take the shot: the federal government, politicians and their employers.
|But hospitals and nursing homes have been scarred by many thousands of Covid-19 deaths and are desperate to have their employees inoculated. And they’re coming up with carrot-and-stick strategies that other organizations may mimic to handle vaccinations among reluctant employees.|
|My colleagues Rebecca Robbins, Sabrina Tavernise and Sharon Otterman found that some employers are offering rewards like cash bonuses, paid time off and even Waffle House gift cards for those who get inoculated, while in at least a few cases saying they will fire those who refuse.|
|Critics point out that many people in health care are low-paid workers who have historically been mistreated, and say it’s unethical to strong-arm them into taking the vaccines — especially when there hasn’t been enough time to gather long-term safety data.|
|At the moment, the U.S. government is not requiring individual coronavirus vaccinations, but it has a long history of allowing such mandates. Last month, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued guidance that allowed employers to require workers to get a Covid vaccine, but the guidelines also highlighted thorny legal questions that could emerge.|
|Nevertheless, airlines, workplaces and sports stadiums may soon require people to show their coronavirus vaccination status before they can enter. Today, a coalition of technology companies, health organizations and nonprofits — including Microsoft, Oracle and the Mayo Clinic — said that they were developing technology standards that would allow people to show their immunization records on their smartphones.|
|Dr. Brad Perkins is the chief medical officer at the Commons Project Foundation, a nonprofit in Geneva that is participating in the effort. “For some period of time,” he said, “most all of us are going to have to demonstrate either negative Covid-19 testing or an up-to-date vaccination status to go about the normal routines of our lives.”|