FAQ: COVID-19 Vaccinations and Dairy’s Safe Return to “Normal”
June 10, 2021
Dairy farms and their cooperatives are an important part of the National Vaccine Month of Action, a push to ensure that 70 percent of U.S. adults have at least one shot by July 4. COVID-19 vaccinations provide safe and effective protection from a pandemic that has taken the lives of nearly 600,000 Americans. See below for information about the vaccine, its availability and what to expect after you and your workforce are fully vaccinated.
Why should I get a COVID-19 vaccine?
- COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective at preventing COVID-19. Based on what CDC knows about vaccines for other diseases and early data from clinical trials, experts believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine also helps keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19.
- COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. The development of the COVID-19 vaccines did not cut corners on testing for safety and efficacy. The vaccines were made using processes that have been developed and tested over many years, and which are designed to make — and thoroughly test — vaccines quickly in case of an infectious disease pandemic like COVID-19.
- Once you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing more. After you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing some things that you stopped doing because of the pandemic.
- Time is of the essence. Waiting too long to be vaccinated allows the coronavirus to continue spreading in the community, with new variants emerging. Severe COVID-19 can be very dangerous: The sooner you get vaccinated, the sooner you are protected.
How do I find a COVID-19 vaccine?
Visit Vaccines.gov to find vaccination providers near you. You can also text your zip code to 438829 or call 1-800-232-0233 to find vaccine locations near you.
What safety measures are recommended once you have been fully vaccinated?
Authorized vaccines are highly effective at protecting vaccinated people against symptomatic and severe COVID-19. According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state and local rules, and regulations.
Employees should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if they have been around someone who is sick. Employees with symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested and stay home and away from others.
How can I help my workforce get vaccinated?
Employers can help employees who seek vaccination by removing barriers that may prevent them from doing so. They can also encourage vaccination by offering incentives. Ways to support employees include:
- Leading by example.
- Helping to identify when and where workers can get vaccinated.
- Offering internet access or language support services to help employees schedule appointments.
- Relieving concerns about vaccine costs
- Providing paid time off to employees who get vaccinated.
- Providing transportation to and from vaccine appointments.
- Partnering with a local public health department or other providers to offer on-site vaccinations to employees.
- Considering providing small prizes, rewards or other modest financial incentives to employees who get vaccinated.
What measures should employers take once employees are vaccinated?
Fully vaccinated employees may be able to start doing some things they had stopped doing because of the pandemic. However, vaccinated employees may still need to take steps to protect themselves and others in many situations due to the presence of others who are non-vaccinated and the continued circulation of the virus. Employers should continue to follow CDC’s Guidance for Businesses and Employers Responding to COVID-19.
Can my business require proof of COVID-19 vaccination?
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has indicated in recent guidance that it is generally permissible for employers to ask employees about COVID-19 vaccination status. That’s because this simple question alone is not likely to elicit information from the employee about possible medical conditions, an inquiry that otherwise would invoke federal or state disability laws.
If you require proof of vaccination, you should ask the employee to provide documentation from the immunization source showing the date(s) the vaccine was administered. To avoid potential legal issues related to this process, you should affirmatively inform employees that they do not need to provide any additional medical or family history information.
- Coronavirus Resources, NMPF
- COVID-19 Vaccination & the Food and Agriculture Sector, FDA
- Workplace Vaccination Program, CDC
- Essential Workers in Agriculture Toolkit, COVID-19 Community Corps