Yes! Though rare, vaccinated people can still get COVID, though it is much less likely to be severe. And that’s not to mention all of the other illnesses that people get - everything from colds and flu to norovirus and hepatitis. Vaccinated employees should still take daily employee wellness checks to report any symptoms they’re having and stay home when they feel sick! The CDC recently issued an alert about a non-COVID respiratory virus called RSV which is circulating in the South right now at above-normal rates, and most experts agree that other illnesses like colds and the flu will be back this year now that states are opening back up without restrictions. Ensuring that your employees don’t work sick remains one of the best tools in your toolkit to stay open safely.
Many experts expect booster doses as early as the fall, but the real answer will depend on the vaccines and the variants. There are results coming back from a number of studies about how long vaccine protection lasts. Right now, we’ve seen that it lasts at least six months and still counting, which is good news. Once those studies start to show decreasing protection, the booster dose conversation will really kick up a notch. Second, all of that will depend on what new variants are circulating. Some variants may be more resistant to the vaccine, which is where boosters come into play. A booster dose can be tailored for the variants in circulation each year, which is how our current flu vaccines work. So, as the virus continues to spread around the world and new variants emerge, boosters will be produced that better match the new variants to protect us. And, at the same time, the protection from the original vaccine dose(s) will naturally wane. Boosters will help with both - giving us a new dose of protection and making sure it works against the newest variants.
So many of our clients are excited to get back into having in-person celebrations and meetings with employees - and we are too! It can be tricky depending on your state and local jurisdiction to determine how you can best gather. Our recommendation is to remain cautious whenever there are unvaccinated people present from multiple households. If a whole group is vaccinated, they can be unmasked indoors and gather in groups without any real limitations. Far more likely, however, is that you’ll have a mixed group of vaccinated and unvaccinated people. In those cases, the safest thing to do is to have anyone who’s unvaccinated mask when indoors. Where possible, it’s still best to gather outside if unvaccinated people are present. For larger gatherings, like conferences or parties, it’s a good idea to incorporate testing, as well.
Yes, but you’ll need to verify it’s the right person. Ask for their name, DOB, brand of vaccine they got, and generally what month they received it to double check that it’s the right person. If you’re speaking with them online or by phone, confirm that their contact info matches anything you might have on file for that employee. If anything doesn’t match or isn’t verifiable, we recommend that you err on the side of caution. They can absolutely contact the place where they got the vaccine to get a replacement card. This is another good reminder to take a picture of your vaccine card ASAP so you have a copy if you need it!