John Thomas Comments on COVID-19 Booster Shots and the Workplace

October 21, 2021

McGuireWoods labor and employment associate John Thomas spoke with the Society of Human Resource Management for its Oct. 18, 2021, article, “Should Employers Add Booster Shots to Their COVID-19 Vaccine Policies?”

In the article, Thomas explained that employers so far have focused mainly on the initial vaccination. “Some geographic areas — and some industries — are still struggling to reach a critical mass of people willing to get the shot in the first place.”

He added, “Although skepticism abounds about whether the definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ will evolve to require boosters, right now boosters are optional.”

Employers — particularly those in industries with high risk of exposure, such as public safety, education, food and agriculture, manufacturing, corrections, public transit, and food distribution — should look to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health departments for guidance on vaccine effectiveness and the necessity of boosters, he said.

For employers planning to update vaccine policies, Thomas suggested they begin with educational campaigns and incentivizing employee action. Employees often are more receptive to these efforts than top-down mandates.

Thomas is a member of McGuireWoods’ COVID-19 Response Team.