We read (and were surprised by) those stories, too. Our contacts in infectious disease at the CDC and other agencies have let us know that they, too, were surprised. That leads us to think this may be an issue of politics and public health getting mixed up, though there’s also a potential argument for getting a better completion rate for quarantines if they’re shorter. Still, we’re not holding our breath waiting for this update and we definitely don’t recommend that you do anything differently until we get clear, data-informed guidelines from public health experts.
We’re hopeful that some of these vaccines will be approved by the FDA and are safe as early as mid- to late-December. But we know that healthcare workers will certainly be in the first wave, likely along with long-term care facility residents whose deaths make up a huge percentage of overall COVID-19 deaths. Essential workers are likely to be next, but we know that producing and administering vaccine will be an enormous challenge, particularly in rural areas across the US. We don’t expect the first non-healthcare-related essential workers to get vaccinated until 2021, and we don’t expect all essential workers to be vaccinated for quite some time as we grapple with the complexities of distributing finicky vaccine across the country and the world.
All things being equal, if 2 people have the exact same symptoms, they should have the same exclusion if your team is working off the same CDC guidelines and Exclusion Chart that we are. But each case is unique, and should be treated as such. For those using ZHH/Zedic wellness checks, our team is asking follow up questions and making a clinical determination based on the unique situation. So one person might have a sore throat related to allergies, which is alleviated by their prescribed allergy meds, and have no exclusion if the meds fully relieve their symptoms. Another person may have a new sore throat and get a 3 day exclusion since it’s their only symptom with instructions to report back if anything else develops. A third person may have a sore throat and loss of smell, and get a 10 day exclusion for possible COVID. We recommend being consistent across all situations, while still taking the time to get all the information in order to avoid on the one end, over-excluding, or on the other, letting someone come to work while sick!
We’ll talk more about mandatory vaccination in our webinar tomorrow with Michelle Harden from Messner Reeves, LLP, but in the meantime, we loved this NPR article about how employers are thinking about vaccination….
Last but not least...
Our COO, Roslyn Stone, will join Michelle Harden, partner at Messner Reeves, LLP to answer your legal and clinical questions about vaccination, employee discipline, testing, and more.
As always, our webinars are recorded. Register to join us at 3pm EST (12pm PST) tomorrow or to receive the recording if you can't attend. Feel free to pass along to anyone at your organization!