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Vaccines at Work: Where Americans Fall on Employer Policies

Key Findings

  • Among those who participated in this survey, respondents’ views are split between whether companies should require their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine (36%) or simply encourage their employees to get vaccinated (37%)
  • Opinions supporting a vaccine requirement are stronger among those who have been already vaccinated (48%) and/or those who have worked from home in the past 15 months (51%).
  • Respondents are more supportive of requiring employee vaccinations for healthcare facilities (52%) and in settings where children are present, such as schools and daycare (45%).
  • Just over half (54%) of employed respondents say requiring employee vaccinations would make them feel safe in the workplace.
  • A substantial portion of employed respondents (74%) are comfortable sharing their own vaccination status with both co-workers and employers.

As many large companies begin to transition back to the office, they’re navigating if, and how, to institute new policies around COVID-19 vaccines. The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission has confirmed that companies can mandate vaccines for workers returning to their desks. And, just this week, Morgan Stanley announced a policy requiring employees and visitors to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus when they enter its New York offices next month.

JUST Capital, along with our research partners The Harris Poll, asked a random sample of 2,000 U.S. adults their opinion about companies and whether they should be requiring vaccination of their workforce. For context, roughly two-thirds of respondents have received at least one dose of a vaccine, and of the 1,070 who are currently employed, most (63%) have been working from home at least partially.

Detailed Findings

Respondents are split between whether companies should require or simply encourage their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine. However, there are key differences among response groups.

A nearly equal percentage of respondents say companies should require vaccination (36%) as say companies should encourage, but not require, employees to get vaccinated (37%). A total of 17% say employers should do neither, and another 11% are not sure.

Yet, we see a notable difference in opinion among some key response groups. Specifically, the two-thirds who have been at least partially vaccinated are more supportive of companies requiring vaccinations (48%) relative to support among respondents who are currently not vaccinated (10%).

 

 

Support for vaccination requirements is also greater among:

  • Those working at home (51%) or sometimes at home and sometimes outside the home (40%), for the past 15 months.
  • College graduates (46%) and high-income households of over $100K (42%).

 

 

Most Democrats say employers should require vaccines of their workforce (51%). Among Republicans, a plurality (40%) say employers should encourage workers to get the vaccine, compared with 23% in favor of employers requiring vaccines and 30% who say employers should neither encourage nor require vaccination.

 

 

When asked about specific types of working environments (in which workers are in direct proximity with others) a greater percentage say employers should require vaccination. A total of 52% support mandated vaccines for employees in healthcare facilities and 46% and 44% are in favor of requiring vaccines for workers in daycares and schools respectively.

For the listed workplaces below, roughly 16% say vaccines should be neither encouraged nor required.

 

 

Among those employed, there are multiple steps employers can take to help workers feel safe in the workplace. Just over half say requiring vaccinations would make them feel safe. Yet, three-quarters say regularly cleaning and sanitizing the workplace is a necessary step.

 

 

Of the listed ways in which companies can help their workforce feel safer, requiring vaccinations is lower in support than regularly cleaning and sanitizing or reducing use of shared equipment – a notable finding after the CDC has established that COVID-19 is more transmissible via aerosols than surface contact.

Finally, regardless of whether or not respondents say vaccines should be a requirement in the workplace, three in four of those employed say they are comfortable sharing their vaccination status with both co-workers and employers.

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll in partnership with JUST Capital from June 15–17, 2021 among 2,053 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample, is not representative, and no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Jennifer Tonti, Managing Director, Surveys & Polling at jtonti@justcapital.com.

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