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Employers Can Require Covid-19 Vaccine Under Federal Law, New Guidance States

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U.S. employers could require all workers who physically enter a workplace to be vaccinated against Covid-19, the federal government said on Friday.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued updated guidance stating that federal law does not prevent an employer from requiring workers to be vaccinated.

However, in certain circumstances, the law may require the employer to make reasonable accommodation for workers who are not vaccinated because of a disability or religious belief. For example, the EEOC said that an unvaccinated employee entering the workplace could wear a face mask, work at a social distance, or be given the opportunity to telework.

The new guidelines also state that federal laws do not prevent or limit incentives that workers can be offered to voluntarily take the vaccine. And employers who give vaccines to their employees may also offer incentives, unless the incentives are compulsory.

The updated guidelines are designed to answer frequently asked questions, EEOC chair Charlotte Burrows said in a statement. She said the agency will continue to update and refine its support to employers.

The Commission is an independent, bipartisan agency that enforces civil rights laws in the workplace. The five-person body is led by Ms. Burrows, a Democrat who brought President Biden to the top. It also includes three Republican members nominated by former President Donald Trump.

Some employers have offered bonuses to workers who take the shot. For example retailer Dollar General Corp.

is offering four hour wages to those who take the shot, and Bolthouse Farms, a juice and salad dressing maker, said it would pay $ 500 to full-time workers receiving Covid-19 vaccine. Retailer Trader Joe’s, Delivery Service Instacart Inc., and Meat Producer Pilgrim’s Pride Corp.

and JBS USA Holdings Inc. said they would provide vaccine incentives.

Trader Joe’s is one of those employers who would offer their employees incentives to get vaccinated against Covid-19.


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STAR MAX / Associated Press

JBS USA, the largest US beef processor, and Pilgrim’s Pride, a leading poultry supplier, will not require factory workers to get the vaccine, a company spokesman said. A spokesman for Bolthouse Farms said the company had no plans to require vaccinations. Dollar General, Trader Joe’s, and Instacart Inc. didn’t respond to requests for comment on Friday.

Keira Lombardo, chief administrative officer of Smithfield Foods Inc., said the pork giant provides vaccines for factory workers but does not currently need them.

The EEOC said employers could provide workers and their family members with information about the benefits of vaccines and how to get them. It was pointed out that the vaccines are available free of charge.

The guide comes at a time when more workers are returning to the site and various federal agencies have stated that wearing masks is not required for people who have been vaccinated.

Edwin Egee, vice president of government relations and human resource development for the National Retail Federation, said he did not know of any NRF members who had prescribed vaccines and he did not expect this to happen based on EEOC guidance. Instead, he expects the guidelines to help employers encourage workers to vaccinate.

“Many of them have already done this without guidance, but today’s guidance clearly gives them legal clarity to proceed,” he said.

The EEOC announced on its website that it has received numerous inquiries about vaccine requirements, including concerns about the three vaccines used in the US – from Johnson & Johnson,

Moderna and Pfizer – BioNTech – were issued emergency permits as opposed to broader permits. The agency said decisions about whether the level of approval creates a legal problem are “outside the competence of the EEOC”.

The agency added that “some individuals or populations may have greater barriers to getting a Covid-19 vaccination than others, that some employees may be more likely to be negatively affected by mandatory vaccination.”

The EEOC found that it would be illegal to apply a vaccination requirement in such a way that employees are treated differently depending on their disability, race, skin color, religion, gender, national origin or age. It was also found that state and local laws can also regulate vaccination requirements.

Marc Freedman, vice president of employment policy at the US Chamber of Commerce, said the guidelines should also help allay individuals’ fears of returning to work.

“To the extent that employees are concerned that returning to work will put them at risk for Covid-19, anything that helps an employer vaccinate more employees will help keep the workplace safe” said Freedman.

Mr. Freedman was pleased that the EEOC had made it clear that employers can offer vaccination incentives without dealing with legal issues. However, the EEOC guidelines also state that incentives are acceptable as long as they are not “compulsive” – a term whose meaning is not clear, according to Freedman.

This could “expose employers to the challenges of workers who do not wish to be vaccinated”.

Many employers report difficulties in hiring workers for vacancies. Whether the vaccination policy affects labor shortages depends on how many employers need vaccinations and how much unvaccinated workers care, said Adam Ozimek, labor economist at Upwork Inc.,

A platform that connects companies and employees for freelance projects.

A shortage of available labor could make employers in certain sectors reluctant to make vaccine requirements and workers confident of finding another job if they don’t like the requirements, he said. But he added that the most important impact on the broader economy would be “if employers need vaccines and this helps to get more people vaccinated as it would help end the pandemic faster.”

Write to Eric Morath at eric.morath@wsj.com and Sarah Chaney Cambon at sarah.chaney@wsj.com

Copyright © 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Pandemic

Wimbledon welcomes back the crowds after COVID-19 shutdown

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LONDON, June 24 (Reuters) – It may rain, umbrellas are as much a part of the English summer as striped jackets and strawberries and cream, but the return of Wimbledon will put a spring in the way for tennis fans whatever the weather.

The pristine grass pitches in south-west London went untrodden last year when one of the sports calendar’s highlights was canceled for the first time in three quarters of a century, another victim of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It may not be a “normal service” just yet, the emphasis is still more on social distancing than socializing, but the game will at least resume with eager viewers in the thousands attending next week.

“When Wimbledon was canceled last year, it was a blow in the gut for our sport. A terrible time,” commented three-time Wimbledon winner and ESPN analyst John McEnroe. “So it’s amazing to have it back.”

The tournament is a government approved “pilot event” with a capacity of at least 50% increasing to a full 15,000 spectators for the men’s and women’s singles finals on Center Court.

Ticket holders must still provide proof of vaccination, negative COVID-19 test, or proof of full recovery from the virus and wear face masks when moving around the premises but not while seated.

The organizers warned that some distancing was required, especially when managing queues.

The most famous queue of them all – for returns and daytime tickets – has left the park and, like so much last year, has gone virtual, with sales on a mobile app and initially only to UK residents.

‘Henman Hill’, the grassy hill outside Court One where many fans usually gather to watch games on the big screen, will be open but details on the numbers allowed are still sketchy.

Players are limited to a maximum entourage of three, and even the biggest names must stay in approved hotels rather than renting private homes in the upscale neighborhoods as usual. Those who normally live in London also have to check into these so-called Wimbledon Bubble Hotels.

The reaction of the top players is full of excitement to go out again in the only Grand Slam tournament that did not take place last year.

“It’s going to be an incredible event … It’s our Augusta National, how green it is, how much this tournament has,” commented the hard-hitting American John Isner. “Everyone will be happy to come back.

Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, a 2019 women’s semi-finalist, agreed that she was sorely missed.

“I think the whole Wimbledon experience is magical because we know the rules are pretty strict and this year they are getting even stricter with all the protocols we have to follow,” she said.

“But you’re only in white, you’re at such a beautiful venue, a historic venue, so the whole atmosphere that the fans make and walking on the square, that’s the whole experience I would say.”

Additional coverage by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Heart Inflammation In Young Adults After COVID-19 Vaccine Is Rare, CDC Says : NPR

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A teenager enters a pop-up vaccine site for COVID-19 in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens in New York City earlier this month. Scott Heins / Getty Images Hide caption

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A teenager enters a pop-up vaccine site for COVID-19 in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens in New York City earlier this month.

Scott Heins / Getty Images

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 323 cases of heart inflammation have been confirmed in people who received the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Cases of myocarditis and pericarditis have mainly been observed in adolescents and young adults between 12 and 39 years of age – mostly after the second dose of vaccine. Symptoms include chest pain or pressure, and abnormal EKG and blood test results.

The CDC says most people who have experienced this side effect have recovered from their symptoms and are fine. Of the 323 cases, 295 were discharged from the hospital, nine remained in the hospital until last week, and 14 were not hospitalized at all. Results data were missing in five cases. No deaths have been associated with this side effect.

The CDC says that after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, some cases of heart inflammation have been reported to the vaccine adverse event reporting system, albeit not as many as for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

Pfizer's Teenage COVID Vaccine and Myocarditis: What You Need To Know

The number of cases has not increased much since last week when CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told reporters at a White House briefing that the agency knew of “over 300” cases.

Officials say the side effect is extremely rare

The CDC says the results do not change the basic recommendation that all people 12 and older should receive either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. However, if a person develops myocarditis after the first dose, a second dose should be postponed until the condition has completely resolved and the heart has returned to normal.

“The facts are clear: this is an extremely rare side effect and only an extremely small number of people will experience it after vaccination,” said a statement. “What is important is that most cases are mild for the young people who do this, and those affected often recover on their own or with minimal treatment. Additionally, we know that myocarditis and pericarditis are much more common when you get COVID-19, and what are the risks? to the heart from COVID-19 infection can be more serious. ”

A representative from the Food and Drug Administration who attended the meeting, Dr. Doran Fink said the agency will add a warning to vaccine datasheets reflecting the risk of this rare complication.

Naturally occurring heart infections are rare, but do occur from time to time in teenagers and young adults. The rate seen after these vaccines is slightly higher than what would be expected for this age, which is cause for concern.

The data will be presented at a meeting of expert advisors convened by the CDC, which will be held practically on Wednesday and will be open to the public.

Teens receive vaccination cards after receiving an initial dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at a mobile clinic at YMCA Weingart East Los Angeles in Los Angeles last month. Patrick T. Fallon / AFP via Getty Images Hide caption

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Patrick T. Fallon / AFP via Getty Images

Teens receive vaccination cards after receiving an initial dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at a mobile clinic at YMCA Weingart East Los Angeles in Los Angeles last month.

Patrick T. Fallon / AFP via Getty Images

Officials are also testing booster shots

The group also deals with the issue of booster doses. A CDC report submitted to the panel of experts said the agency would recommend a booster dose only if there is evidence that people who have received the vaccines become infected in significant numbers. The agency wouldn’t rely on a decrease in antibodies alone.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices makes recommendations for the use and planning of all approved and approved vaccines in the United States. It was not planned to vote on recommendations regarding the use of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines on Wednesday.

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St. Louis Pandemic Doctor: COVID-19 Now Almost ‘Universally Preventable’ With Vaccines

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For more than 14 months, Dr. Alex Garza, as the head of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, a group of senior leaders from the area’s hospitals, is the face of the area’s COVID-19 response.

The task force has suspended its weekly livestream conferences as coronavirus cases and hospital stays in the region’s hospitals have remained relatively flat.

Sarah Fentem, of St. Louis Public Radio, interviewed Garza about his job, the ongoing challenge of the coronavirus pandemic, and how health workers have dealt with last year’s psychological toll.

Sarah Fentem: One of the most interesting aspects of the briefings for me was seeing doctors and health care professionals show a lot of emotion and show the human side of health care that I don’t think many patients see. How are the workers now? Are they still taking a psychological toll?

Alex Garza: I would be surprised if they weren’t still wearing it. I think, as you know, and as many people know, I am also in the military and one of the things that has long ends after conflict is the post-conflict problems with PTSD and the psychological distress that goes on for a long time. And that’s really not much different. There are physical manifestations that will last for a long time.

From a social perspective, too, I think we have to go back and look at what has just happened in the past year and a half. How did we react as a society? What worked, what didn’t work, why didn’t some things work the way we wanted them to? And ask these serious questions.

Many of the topics are not necessarily scientific and medical topics. I think they’re more cultural and social than anything to do with “How do we make vaccines”. or ‘What are the protective things we have to do?’ The scientific knowledge has already occurred with the fact that it is above all the cultural and social things that pose the questions to be answered.

Fentem: The obvious follow-up question is: What questions do we have to ask ourselves culturally? You are probably thinking about vaccines, right?

Garza: During the pandemic, there have always been challenges with the counter-narrative, be it “this is none other than the flu” or “these classes of drugs will work,” although it has been scientifically proven that they don’t work. The whole theme of wearing masks, which sparked a whole new political and social dynamic, although science had undoubtedly proven its effectiveness. And the same with vaccines.

Fentem: Do you think doctors and the entire healthcare industry underestimated that in the beginning?

Garza: I think we have, I really do. Fortunately, we don’t have much experience with rampant pandemics and how they will be interpreted and how they will affect societies and countries.

The advent of social media and things like that presented a much greater challenge in protecting communities and encouraging people to do the right things to protect and prevent its spread. I think that was underestimated.

Fentem: Let’s talk about what’s going on in the hospitals right now. Who do you see coming to the hospitals and is the number of cases manageable at the moment?

The last time we somehow broke this, about 97% of the people who were hospitalized were unvaccinated. And it’s a younger cohort of patients too, which comes with the narrative of vaccinations. I think it is very frustrating and somewhat disappointing for health care workers to still care for patients with this disease, which by and large is preventable almost everywhere.

Fentem: The last question is related to that. We look at the hesitation of vaccines, and I hear a lot about the variants ahead. Is it possible that these two factors together take us back to last year? Is that something you are worried about?

Garza: I’m worried about that. I think it is possible that the number of younger patients will increase, but probably not at the level we saw in the fall and winter. The challenge is that when you look at what is driving the pandemic, there are a few things. One is the virus, how communicable is the virus? Of course, if you throw in a new virus that is more communicable and causes more disease, it leads to more cases and hospitalizations. The second is: What kind of mitigation strategies do I have? Virtually all of the mitigation strategies are now gone.

This is why you are seeing such a large increase in cases in places that are unvaccinated and have no public containment strategies. And you throw in those variations … it’s just science and math, there’s no magic. You introduce a highly virulent virus into a naive population, it will spread unless you take steps to prevent it from spreading.

Follow Sarah on Twitter: Petit_Smudge

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