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  • Writer's pictureMichael Trout

At Least 20% of U.S. Workers Uncertain About Getting Covid Vaccine

Lower-level workers are less willing to receive the vaccine than senior leadership. Moreover, the nationwide survey found that nearly half of companies have yet to communicate a policy on getting the vaccine.

As the U.S. rolls out the COVID-19 vaccine, a survey of US workers finds that 1 in 5 employees are undecided about whether to take it.

The Conference Board survey reveals that employee rank accounts for much of this hesitation: lower-level workers are less willing to receive the vaccine than senior leadership. Moreover, the nationwide survey found that nearly half of companies have yet to communicate a policy on getting the vaccine. And of those organizations that have, most are encouraging workers to receive the vaccine but not mandating it as a condition of returning to the office.

“Nearly a year into the pandemic, workers are still faced with an abundance of uncertainty. Many workers—especially lower-ranking staff and women—feel unsure about the vaccine and have discomfort returning to the workplace,” said Rebecca Ray, PhD, Executive Vice President, Human Capital at The Conference Board.

“These findings reinforce the need for companies to limit as much uncertainty as possible by communicating what they know and what their expectations are about returning to the workplace, as well as guidelines about the vaccine to employees.”

Conducted between January 13–26, the online survey covered two key topics: policies pertaining to the vaccine and reopening the workplace. More than 2,200 US workers participated, representing a cross-section of people across industries. It is a follow-up to similar surveys conducted in September and again in October.



Key Findings Include:

One-fifth of US workers—19 percent—are undecided about whether to get the vaccine.

  • Three-quarters plan to take an FDA-approved vaccine when available.

  • Only 6 percent do not plan to get the vaccine.

Indecision over taking the vaccine increases as worker rank decreases.

  • Individual contributors: Only 67 percent of these lower-ranking workers plan to take the vaccine.

  • CEOs: 85 percent of those at the top, however, plan to take it.

“Indecision about the vaccine may be driven by a distrust of the healthcare system, government agencies, or the efficacy of the vaccine itself. In many states, the vaccination registration process can be complicated,” said Amy Lui Abel, PhD, Vice President, Human Capital Research at The Conference Board.

“Many companies, on the other hand, have the trust of their staff; they may consider sharing facts and dispelling myths about the vaccine, or enabling government plans to immunize their workers.”

Gender gap: Women are more undecided about taking the vaccine than men.

  • More men (80 percent) are planning to take the vaccine than women (73 percent).

In addition to being more willing to take the vaccine, men are also more comfortable returning to the office at nearly two times the rate of women.

  • Men: 32 percent of men are very comfortable returning to the office.

  • Women: Only 17 percent of women feel very comfortable returning.

“Given that caretaking responsibilities still disproportionately fall to women, the gender disparity in comfort returning to the workplace is understandable,” said Rebecca Ray, PhD, Executive Vice President, Human Capital at The Conference Board.

“Insufficient childcare, a fear of exposing their families to COVID-19, or the impact of contracting the disease themselves may very well be driving this concern.” -Ray

Nearly half of respondents say their company has yet to communicate a vaccination policy.

  • One-third of companies strongly encourage getting the vaccine as a condition of returning to the workplace but are not mandating it.

  • Only 1 percent require a vaccine for all workers.

Uncertainty about how workers will return to the office has increased.

  • Nearly a full year into the pandemic, plans for returning to the office or worksite remain unknown to 44 percent of respondents. That is up from 37 percent in the September survey.

When will my company reopen? 28 percent expect to return in 7 to 12 months.

  • Within 6 months, April to June 2021: 21 percent.

  • Unsure/Do not know: 8 percent.

Lower-ranking employees are less comfortable than senior leaders about returning.

  • Individual contributors: Only 14 percent are very comfortable returning to the workplace.

  • CEOs: 44 percent are very comfortable, or even want to return, to the workplace.

“Given that higher-ranking staff likely have more control over their work environment and more input into office reopening plans, it is not surprising that they are more comfortable returning to the workplace,” said Amy Lui Abel, PhD, Vice President, Human Capital Research at The Conference Board.

“Clear communication about reopening plans and the implementation of safety measures can help ease concerns.” -Amy Lui

Employee discomfort with returning to work has declined with the vaccine rollout.

  • Only 18 percent of respondents are uncomfortable returning to work, a sharp decline from the 31 percent in the September survey who reported discomfort with the prospect.

  • More respondents describe themselves as very comfortable returning to work (22 percent) than are not comfortable doing so (18 percent). That is a reversal from September.

The Conference Board is the member-driven think tank that delivers trusted insights for what’s ahead. Founded in 1916, we are a non-partisan, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States.

In Conclusion...

Again, this is for informational purposes ONLY. Please consult your health professional for what is appropriate for you personally. I have included a few disclaimers along with my own personal opinion at the end because there is a lot of information going around about this vaccine and I feel like it is important and essential to surviving this crisis that we have honest and straight forward information. These are some facts that are important to understand... many I took from the CDC website Myths and Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines | CDC

THIS VACCINE IS NOT YET APPROVED BY THE FDA FOR GENERAL USE. IT IS ONLY APPROVED FOR "EMERGENCY USE" Please consult with a trusted physician before taking it. Everyone's body reacts differently.

"Emergency Use" is for all intents and purposes is a PHASE 3 CLINICAL TRIAL OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

Ask to see the vaccine literature, it's not rude or weird it's normal. This could have important information about ingredients you may be allergic to. They also may have information about what to do if you do have a negative reaction. The more information you have the better.

At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long according to the CDC

The scientific and medical community are still have not reached any unanimous opinion on the long term effects of this vaccine, or the long term effects of having contracted the virus.

"We won’t know how long immunity produced by vaccination lasts until we have more data on how well the vaccines work."(CDC)

"Both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are trying to learn more about, and CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available" - Centers for Disease Control

NONE of the current vaccine candidates are officially approved for general use and because of this the pharmaceutical companies, the vaccine manufacturers, administrators, doctors, as well as the government can NOT be held liable for any complications or injury that anyone may sustain from the vaccine during this time.

It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity (protection against the virus that causes COVID-19) after vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and still get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.

"Based on current knowledge, experts believe that COVID-19 vaccines are unlikely to pose a risk to a person trying to become pregnant in the short or long term. Scientists study every vaccine carefully for side effects immediately and for years afterward." -CDC

The development of this vaccine in such a short time is nothing short of a miracle, and because of how fast this has been done there are some rules that are being "bent" to try to help bring an end to this pandemic as soon as possible. This could be good, this could be bad the truth is that we just don't know yet.

Everyone's situation is unique and what works for one person doesn't work for everyone else so I am hopeful that we can all be respectful of our fellow citizens choices no matter what they chose for their own personal health. NO ONE should be bullied or forced into either decision, it is yours alone to make.

We hope everyone is staying safe and healthy,



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