August 18, 2021
Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, firstname.lastname@example.org, (412) 945-3242
Washington, DC—As the nation’s pioneering organization advocating on behalf of consumers and workers, the National Consumers League (NCL) supports government and employer mandates requiring vaccination. NCL has long championed vaccine education and access to these lifesaving medical interventions. In recent weeks, it has become evident that employer mandates are effective at nudging reluctant people to get the COVID-19 vaccine. As the virus continues to spread and mutate around the globe, we remain concerned for the safety of essential workers, the immunocompromised, and children that are not yet eligible for the vaccine.
Fifty-seven of America’s health care organizations share our concerns, releasing a joint statement calling on all health care and long-term care employers to require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, with California being the first state to implement this mandate. President Joe Biden followed with an announcement that federal workers and contractors will need to show proof of vaccination or be subject to weekly or twice-weekly COVID-19 tests. Governors led the way in California, Virginia, and New York requiring state employees to be vaccinated or adhere to similar testing protocols. Private employers can play a key role in increasing vaccinations, providing incentives to employees who get the shot.
NCL believes that all vaccine mandates should be implemented with the consideration that workers will need to receive paid leave to get the vaccine and to potentially recover from side effects resulting from vaccination. The American Rescue Plan Act makes tax credits available to employers to cover the cost of providing paid leave to employees to receive and recover from COVID-19 vaccinations. These tax credits can also be utilized to support employees as they take time off to vaccinate their children against COVID-19. Incentives like hourly bonuses and paid time off rewards are extremely important to hourly workers.
Additionally, mandates should be developed in consultation with labor unions who represent workers. The American Teachers Federation and the AFL-CIO are two labor unions that have publicly stated they are supportive of vaccine requirements for workers. The SEIU 2015, California’s largest caregiver union, released a set of principles to aid employers with implementing mandatory COVID-19 vaccines, encouraging them to make the vaccine accessible either at work or near the workplace.
Companies can legally mandate that all employees re-entering the workplace and new hires be vaccinated for COVID-19, providing exemptions pertaining to religion or disability. Politically motivated laws prohibiting mandates for vaccines only make it harder for public health officials to quell the pandemic, ultimately hurting consumers. Seven states have passed laws prohibiting mandates for vaccines under an emergency use authorization. However, since these bans hinge on FDA licensure approval of the vaccines, they will be nullified once a vaccine is granted full approval.
More than 198 million Americans have safely received the COVID-19 vaccine. Given the remarkable evidence of safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines, consumers should rest assured that vaccines are effective measures to protect public health and vital to national efforts in ending the pandemic. Through our education and outreach efforts, NCL will continue to support efforts to vaccinate the nation.
About the National Consumers League
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.