In the US, it is becoming all the rage for employers – both in the public and private sector – to require their employers to be vaccinated in order to return to the office.
This stance has recently been adopted by the US federal government at President Joe Biden’s request, as well as huge corporations like the Washington Post, Disney, United Airlines, Citigroup and Google.
What do employees think about vaccine mandates?
According to a new study by Ipsos and Axios of 1,041 US individuals employed full time or part time, or are self-employed, 55% would support their employer requiring all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. 38% of the 55% said they strongly supported, while 17% said they somewhat supported.
In addition, the survey found that 64% supported state or local governments requiring them to wear masks in public places, and 69% agreed with the continued requirement for teachers, students and administrators to wear masks in schools.
These findings from Axios and Ipsos are in line with other recent polls.
For instance, a 4 August poll by Kaiser Family Foundation found that 51% of those surveyed said the federal government should recommend employers require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they have a medical exception.
While a Gallup poll published yesterday found that 52% of part time or full time workers were in favor of employer vaccination requirements, while 38% were opposed and 10% were neutral. In addition, 36% were strongly in favor of workplace vaccine mandates.
Interestingly, the support for employee vaccination requirements has grown since May from 46% to 52%, while of those who were strongly in favor increased from 29% to 36%.
Importantly, the support for these requirements exceeds the number of people actually subject to these mandates – only 9% surveyed by Gallup said their employer was requiring them to be vaccinated.
This suggests the US is likely to see more and more employers implementing vaccine passports, particularly as COVID-19 cases linked with the Delta variant are continuing to rise.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of cases has been rising steadily since 4 July. On that day, there were 12,848 cases, whereas on 17 August (the last day there is data for), the US reported 141,893 new cases.
While public opinion is in support and it may be legal in the US for employers to implement vaccine mandates, this is not necessarily the case elsewhere in the world.
For example, there are likely to be successfully legal challenges in the UK against employers requiring vaccine mandates.