unvaccinated employees are complaining about a $100 bonus for getting vaccinated

A reader writes:

My wife is in middle management for a relatively large health care system, where she manages over 100 clinical staff. Her employer recently announced that anyone who receives a Covid-19 vaccine will get a few perks, the most significant being a $100 bonus. We both thought that was a great idea, but this week, she has been hearing tons of negative feedback from her staff who aren’t vaccinated and have no plans to be.

I have two broad questions about this: First, is there anything illegal about offering incentives to employees for personal decisions about their health? And two, do you have any language for how to talk with her employees about it?

The federal government actually just updated its guidance to employers about exactly this!

The EEOC confirmed last week that vaccine incentives fall under its existing regulations on wellness programs. Specifically:

* If the employee receives the vaccine from a third party (not from their employer), the employer can offer an incentive of any kind and require proof of vaccination from the employee before providing the incentive.

* If the employee receives the vaccine from the employer or the employer’s agent, they can still offer an incentive as long as it is not “so substantial as to be coercive.” (The concern is that a large incentive could make employees feel pressured to disclose protected medical information by responding to pre-screening questions when getting the vaccine from the employer or its agent.)

As for how to talk to employees about their pushback … frankly, the more pressing problem is that she has a bunch of staff with no plans to get vaccinated, and in a health care system no less (I’m assuming without medical/religious reasons). But if she wants to address the complaints about the incentive, there’s not a lot to say other than, “It’s in the company’s interest to have as many people as possible safely vaccinated so that they’re not spreading a deadly disease to colleagues or the public.”

While we’re talking about updated guidance from the EEOC, they also said in that same recent update:

* Employers can require that employees be vaccinated in order to enter the workplace.

* As always, an employer would need to make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities or religious objections unless doing so would cause the employer undue hardship. The EEOC guidance provided examples of reasonable accommodations for employer to consider, such as requiring the unvaccinated employee to wear a mask, maintain social distance from others, work a modified shift, or telework.

* Employers who do not require vaccination can still require that employees disclose their vaccination status, as long as questions are limited to whether or not an employee is vaccinated (including the type of vaccine and dates administered) and don’t inquire as to why an employee may have chosen not to get the vaccine.

{ 884 comments… read them below }

  1. Snark*

    I will just marvel that people with no plans to get vaccinated think they’re entitled to a $100 bonus, on top of everything else they’re determined to freeload off of.

    1. Xenia*

      To me the only way this would make sense is if the people complaining legitimately cannot get the vaccine for allergy reasons or something similar, and I can’t imagine that’s a terribly large population of the workplace.

      1. JM60*

        Even if someone is in that relatively small group, they really need everyone around them to be vaccinated. I can understand being angry that everyone else around you can get $100 that you can’t for medical reasons, but if I couldn’t get vaccinated, I’d rather everyone except me get $100 than be exposed to a dangerous virus I can’t get vaccinated against.

        1. MissBaudelaire*

          If my company paying others a hundred bucks in that scenario kept me safe, I would consider it money well spent.

          1. A*

            Exactly. If we were talking $1000 I might feel differently (just in terms of it being a large incentive not available to those that already did their due diligence by getting vaccinated), but I whole heartedly support a $100 initiative. Whatever it takes.

        2. Shan*

          Exactly! People who genuinely have medical exemptions are not the ones protesting against vaccines/masks/etc, and I’ll bet most of them don’t care that they won’t get $100 if it means the people who do, get vaccinated.

          1. MissDisplaced*

            Right! Because if you HAVE a medical condition that prevents you from getting the vaccine, you’re definitely keeping that mask on! Others are just being spoiled and selfish.

            1. Smaug*

              Exactly! One of my close friend has medical reasons why wearing a mask is very difficult for them – they need to be medicated to manage to wear one even only for a few minutes.
              They have a legitimate medical exemption so they don’t have to wear one at work where they can social distance, but even then they suffer when they have to use public transport and can’t social distance for the safety of everyone.
              If they can manage it, no reason why people without a medical reason can’t.

        3. Green great dragon*

          If I couldn’t get vaccinated for medical reasons, I’d happily pay $100 to maximise the number of people around me who were vaccinated.

        4. KoiFeeder*

          Yeah, mine didn’t take so I don’t count as vaccinated, but I’m not gonna begrudge people $100 for keeping me alive!

          1. Cranky lady*

            This. A friend mentioned that because of a medical condition she can get vaccinated BUT it probably won’t be as effective for her. I’m pretty confident she would pay $100 to someone else to reduce her risk.

          2. Calliope*

            I’m sure in that situation, they’d still give you the $100 for getting the shot. They’re not going to require antibody tests first.

            1. Old and Don’t Care*

              Especially since the FDA does not recommend that people get antibody tests for this purpose.

              1. A tester, not a developer*

                Interesting! I’m in Canada, and in a group that may have the vaccine ‘fail’ (funky medications). I’ve been told to get the antibody test a few weeks after my second dose to see if I need to get a third shot.

        5. Alpacas Are Not Dairy Animals*

          To be fair, most of the people I know who legitimately can’t get vaccinated are people with really significant (and expensive) health challenges, and already feeling bad about not being able to get the vaccine and having one more issue to worry about. It’s not logical, but I can see how emotionally it could be like “all this AND everyone gets $100 and I don’t!”

          1. Chinook*

            Count me in that group. I had a continuing adverse reaction to the vaccine and will probably not get the second one due to personal fear of how much worse my body could react. It sucks to not only be at higher risk of catching the disease while living with new chronic pain for doing the first part of the right thing, but the cherry on the cake is also being left out of all the “rewards” and being lumped into the shaming of anti-vaxxers (even though I have been well vaccinated all my life).

          2. Kal*

            Yeah, this is pretty much how it would shake out for me. Like, the $100 itself on its own would be a “I feel a bit sad every time I am reminded of the reward I can’t get for no fault of my own via a notice poster/whatever” thing, but not something I’d dwell on. But the fact that it is only one part of a long, long chain of sad and painful things I have to deal with on a constant basis makes it just hit a spot that is already sore (and my brain instantly thinks that that $100 could be one of my meds for a month!).

            Like how someone giving you a light a light clap on the back isn’t normally a big deal, unless that spot has been hit 100 times already before this particular hit. Then that light clap causes pain disproportionate to the individual action.

            The number of employees who can’t get vaccinated for medical reasons would probably be small enough that the company finding a way to allow those employees to get the perks another way would not really cost that much and would do a lot for the morale of those employees. Knowing your employer remembers people like you exist and proactively makes sure you aren’t excluded can go a very long way when you’re used to just quietly sitting out on these sorts of things.

      2. TWW*

        Legally, would someone who was medically unable to receive the vaccine be entitled to $100?

        1. OhNo*

          I don’t think so – just like wheelchair users aren’t entitled to equal prizes in a steps challenge. But IANAL, so I could be wrong there.

          1. Waving not Drowning (not Drowning not Waving)*

            We’ve just had a step challenge at work, and while we didn’t have any wheelchair users, there was a formula to use for participants who cycled and kayaked so that they would count, so assuming that it would translate to wheelchair users.

            No prize was given, only the glory of being the top team (and beating my work nemesis on another team LOL)

          2. Koalafied*

            Actually, the ADA does mean that employers who have wellness programs cannot discriminate against disabled individuals and have to give them “equal access to the benefits” of participation, and must provide reasonable accommodations to allow disabled employees to participate. The EEOC rule guidance mentions step challenges specifically:

            “For example, an employer would have to provide a sign language interpreter for an employee who is deaf and wants to attend a smoking cessation class, materials in an accessible format (such as in Braille or large print) for an employee who is blind, or an alternative to a program that requires a certain amount of walking for an employee who uses a wheelchair.”

            Since this is ADA, I’m not sure how this would affect employees who are opting out of vaccination for religious reasons, but if they have a medical exemption due to something considered a disability under ADA, they would need to be offered an alternative way to earn the $100 incentive.

            1. New Jack Karyn*

              Could the alternate way be as simple as bringing in a note from their doctor confirming that status?

        2. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

          No, they would be entitled to not be penalized for not receiving the vaccine. There can be a long list of incentives and benefits that apply to only some groups of people — those who can’t ride-share aren’t entitled to a ride-share incentive; those who don’t smoke aren’t entitled to an incentive to quit smoking; those who aren’t overweight or don’t want to lose weight, aren’t entitled to an equivalent if the company offers “free” Weight Watchers…

          1. Koalafied*

            The key thing about the groups you listed – people who don’t ride-share, non-smokers, overweight – are not considered disabilities. The law in general allows discrimination in the broad sense of the word – treating two groups of people different due to some underlying difference between them – it just doesn’t allow discrimination to be based on membership in a protected group, or a disability. You can discriminate between people who commute by transit and by ride-share and on-foot, but not between Christians and Muslims and Hindus or between people with and without disabilities. EEOC has an ADA guidance (2017) that says employees with disabilities must be offered reasonable accommodations that give them equal access to the incentive, whether that’s a modification or an accessible alternative.

            As I mentioned in another comment, because their guidance is specifically about ADA, I’m not sure how if at all it would be applied to someone who declines the vaccine on religious grounds, but if they’re skipping the vaccine for a medical reason that is considered a disability under ADA, they would need to be offered an alternative way to earn the $100. (I don’t think the company would be required to offer the same alternative to anyone who did not disclose a disability – the same way a building where the only elevator is for the CEO could offer use of the elevator as a reasonable accommodation to someone with a disability without having to make it a 100% public elevator.)

        3. Anonforthis*

          FWIW, my company offered a small ($50) incentive and they did say that they’d provide the same incentive to associates with “bona fide religious or medical conditions objections.” So whether or not they are covering their butts for legal reasons.. they still appear to be covering their butts.

          1. Astral Debris*

            Oh dear, that’s going to be tricky if they find themselves trying to arbitrate whether someone’s religious or medical objection is bona fide or not. I would think that, legally speaking, they’re safer if they only offer it to vaccinated people.

            1. rachel in nyc*

              I so want to see my employer’s religious objection process. There is apparently a committee.

              There is also a committee for medical conditions but I can guess that’s some medical researchers, doctors, and someone from HR. (Someone from HR is on every exemption committee.)

              Who is on the committee for religion? A rabbi, a priest, and a minister? That’s the beginning of a myriad of jokes.

              1. Anoni*

                A rabbi, a priest, and a minister walked into a conference room doesn’t have quite the same set up, though.

        4. kiwibandit*

          I’ve seen other companies offer alternative venues for those with protected reasons to remain unvaccinated to get an incentive.

          One such example is having those employees take a COVID safety training course via the intranet.

      3. Mayflower*

        My company is in the senior care industry. Direct caregivers at nursing homes and assisted living facilities (the lowest paid personnel, the ones wiping butts so-to-speak) are largely refusing to get vaccinated and it is impossible to ascertain why!

        It is a top priority for management. All the facilities across the US are talking to each other trying to figure this out but coming up short. Nobody has exact numbers but unofficially 50-70% of direct caregivers refuse, to the point where they will register for an appointment but not show up. (To be clear, these vaccination appointments are in their building, during their working hours, no effort or payment required, just walk over to the vaccination room and sit in a chair for 5 minutes.)

        You can’t fire these people because there is an extreme shortage of workers, and they are all like this. You would think they’d do it out of sheer self-interest but no.

        The only positive in all this is that the residents are almost 100% vaccinated so at least there is some assurance there.

        1. J.B.*

          Those same people are aware of a history of discrimination in medical research (Tuskegee, etc) and are also likely targets of misinfo/disinfo.

          1. Mary Connell*

            That’s a myth. Black Americans encounter high rates of discrimination in medical treatment but are not averse to medical treatment, vaccines, or participating in research studies.

            1. TrainerGirl*

              Not really a myth though. I was surprised at how many people I know cited history like the Tuskegee Experiment as a reason to not get the vaccine. It’s not true for everyone, but there’s a lot of mistrust out there.

        2. TeapotNinja*

          What the hell!?
          If I had a loved one in any of those facilities, I’d be changing facilities asap, and notifying the media and municipal and state regulators.

        3. Dina*

          Is it possible they’re worried about possible side effects and having to miss work if they feel too unwell?

      4. JTD*

        It’s a small proportion of people and it’s an even smaller one with the Covid vaccines. I have a colleague who can’t get some vaccines, but she was still fine to get the Covid one – in fact, she was a priority group. But in other cases, her (and, in the past, other team members) not being able to have some meant the rest of us were more careful and vigilant because we all know our vaccination status protects her as well as us.

    2. Merci Dee*

      I live in one of the southern states that is trying to pass legislation to ban vaccine passports, on the grounds that they’re discriminatory and would keep everyone from enjoying the same access to businesses, entertainment venues, etc. And I’m like . . . . DUH! I can understand not wanting to put vaccination requirements into place when the vaccine was scarce and people weren’t sure when they were going to be eligible for their dose. But now vaccines are much more easy to obtain as the supply has increased and the vaccinations rates have dropped. So, at some point, those who willfully choose not to vaccinate (not those prevented by medical or religious reasons) should bear the burden of their decisions and not have unrestricted access to all the things they want because they represent an on-going public health threat. If there are enough inconveniences muddying up someone’s life (they are still required to wear masks in grocery stores, they are denied access to entertainment venues, they are required to sit socially distanced behind plexi barriers at doctors’ offices, etc. — I am talking actual inconveniences here, and not life-threatening denials of service) then maybe that would cause them to rethink their stance on the vaccine.

      1. Snark*

        Exactly. If you haven’t gotten vaccinated, go get vaccinated. If you can’t get vaccinated, that’s why everyone else needs to get vaccinated. If you won’t get vaccinated, then there will be natural consequences for you, ranging from inconvenience and loss of social and employment opportunities all the way up to possibly dying after suffocating on your own mucus after contracting a disease for which there is a vaccine that is safe, widely administered, and which is so effective there were less than 8000 breakthrough infections among the first 75 million to get fully vaccinated. Choose your adventure, and whatever happens is squarely on you.

        1. Merci Dee*

          See, now I’ve got a little glow. I always loved those “Choose Your Adventure” books when I was a kid.

          Thanks for that!

            1. Faith the twilight slayer*

              Eight times out of ten by my third choice I was usually dead ☹️

        2. RabbitRabbit*

          Seriously. I’m mildly disappointed that I’m not going to be rolling up at one of those free (COVID)shot-and-a-beer vaccination drives to get myself a free beer along with the vaccine, or similar giveaways, but I literally cried with relief when I signed up for my first shot at the end of December. That’s the real benefit.

          1. Snark*

            Yup. I’ll buy my beer – knowing I’m not going to kill my mom if the wrong person coughs at me in Walmart is priceless.

          2. Gretchen Wiener*

            Me too. I find it interesting that there are several people I know who don’t have an issue with a vaccine…just havnet got around to it.

            I definitely cried when I rolled up to the mass vax site for mine.

            1. A Genuine Scientician*

              I volunteered at a mass vaccination site weekly for a few months, most often either scheduling the patients’ second doses or doing record keeping. _SO MANY_ people cried on getting their vaccine out of relief that part of my job became reassuring them that they didn’t need to apologize for this, it was emotional for many people, they were not the only one, etc.

              1. not_salad*

                Haha I was so emotional driving up, but then the long wait in a line outside made it seem a little mundane. By the time I was actually getting my shot, it was feeling significant again.

            2. Working Hypothesis*

              I just sat in the car hyperventilating with relief for a good ten minutes after my first shot, before I could stop shaking enough to drive home safely. I don’t think I had realized quite how scared I’d been for the last year and a half until I was truly on my way to safety.

            3. Chas*

              I didn’t cry about it, but I can’t imagine putting off the vaccine. I mean, there’s a LOT of adult responsibilities that I procrastinate on, but when I got the text from my Drs saving I was eligible to book my vaccine slot, I immediately sat down, clicked the link, worked out how I’d get to the vaccination centre I’d been allocated and booked my shot. Because it’s important to get it done.

              1. calonkat*

                I was actually living out of town and working remotely when our state agency got last minute approval to get vaccinated. Got up in the early morning and drove to the vaccination site, got the shot, then drove back to my mom’s (I was taking care of her after a hospitalization) then went back to work. Worth it.

          3. SarahKay*

            I’m in the UK so back at the start of the year the vaccine program was planned for different groups depending on their level of risk, with the ‘bottom’ planned group being those aged 50 and over. Normally I think 50 might not have been a milestone I was looking forward to but this year: this year, I was basically “come on, 50, hurry up, nearly there!” so that I’d qualify for a vaccine.

            (In fact, the roll-out went so well I got my first shot about 6 weeks before my birthday, but pleasingly the association between 50 and “Yay, vaccine” stuck with me.)

            1. ceiswyn*

              I actually remember being, ridiculously, mildly offended when a checkout assistant asked if I’d had my first vaccination yet – in a ‘Do I look over 50 to you?!’ kind of way (although obviously I didn’t say that). But I was so happy when the vaccination got ahead of schedule and I received my first shot early!

            2. Deejay*

              I turned 50 the same day the UK’s rollout reached 50-year olds. I was straight on the website to book my shots.

              And then the next day the surgery texted me. Through them I got one six days earlier and at a more conveniently located centre where I’d already driven my dad for his. Got the first jab the same day as Boris. Best birthday present ever.

              And Tuesday this week the phone pinged again. And so on Wednesday 9th I’m back there. Stick a needle in me, I’m done.

          4. Windchime*

            I cried with relief, too. I have terrible asthma and another lung condition, but it wasn’t enough to get me the shot because I wasn’t a first responder, a cop, a teacher, or elderly. And I understand; we need to all wait our turn. But I was still very, very happy when on a whim, I asked my local Safeway pharmacist if he had any kind of a waitlist for leftovers at the end of a day and he said he had an extra shot right then. And he gave it to me. I was so, so relieved that I did get teared up. So I can’t imagine just saying, “Nah, I don’t want one.”

          5. Elizabeth Proctor*

            If we hit 70% nationwide, Anheuser-Busch is going to give everyone $5 towards a beer. (Google it for the details, but that’s basically the deal).

        3. MissBaudelaire*

          I had this conversation with my mother. If you are choosing not to get the vaccine, then you are choosing to face the consequences of that. You don’t get to prance around and get all the benefits while people who legitimately can’t get the vaccine have to live in fear because of you.

          It’s like having that kid in class who never did any work be in your group project, and they still get an A even though YOU did the work.

        4. Burnt eggs*

          I could hear this in the ‘don’t come running to me if you cut your toes off while mowing the grass’ voice. I think I love you! ;-)

        5. Noblepower*

          “If you can’t get vaccinated, that’s why everyone else needs to get vaccinated.” <- This!!! How is it that people don't understand (or worse, care about) this?!?

          1. SD*

            Because *somebody* they revere told them that the whole thing is/was overblown, a hoax, a plot to make them look bad. They don’t want to give any indication that they think their hero was possibly mistaken, so no vaccine no matter what. So sad and, BTW, so selfish.

        6. Ravenclawpurple*

          You are an inspiration to us all. You said exactly what I have been thinking for months now.

        7. Seen it.*

          I have an employee who refuses to get vaccinated. (religious reasons)

          She works at the front desk, in a healthcare facility, literally dealing with immunocompromised people on a daily basis.

          Trying to fire her would be a nightmare, but I’m worried one of our patients is going to catch COVID from her eventually and end up dying, and we’ll either be facing a wrongful termination or wrongful death lawsuit in the next few months.

          1. Machiamellie*

            I would think in this case you’d be justified to move her to a similar position whereas she doesn’t interact with patients.

            1. Crystal*

              Yeah. Employers shouldn’t put other people in danger because an employee has particular religious beliefs, no matter what they are or what religion it is.

            1. Seen it.*

              Some very conservative group. Jehova’s witness maybe?

              There basically is no other role for her, it’s a small business.

              1. Seen it.*

                Ok, I did a bit more looking. It sounds like JW’s have a specific issue with ‘blood’ that would come from someone else, but that would mean the Moderna or Phizer should be fine, and not be a religious issue at all.

                So then could I push it and say ‘get vaccinated or else?’

                As an atheist, I will admit to not understanding the logic behind some of these calls.

                1. NotAnotherManager!*

                  My mom is an observant JW, and she’s high-risk and has been vaccinated for months. (She does have medical documentation rejecting blood transfusions and other sorts of treatments that are against her religion.) I’d guess Christian Scientist or that there is a component of the vaccine that is forbidden.

                2. Temperance*

                  Christian Scientists are generally vaccinated. There are a few commenters here who are part of that faith, and explained the issue with complying with public health initiatives. (I cannot remember the reasoning, just that they comply.)

                3. Greg*

                  There is a pretty specific threshold to not get a vaccine for medical reasons; someone can’t just say, “Oh, my religion doesn’t allow me to get it,” and have that be the end of it (I am 90% sure of that anyway). So I would look into the exact circumstances of that first.

                  But get her out of dealing with the patients face to face immediately.

                4. Firsttimeposter*

                  I wonder if this worker really belongs to a religion that is against vaccination or if they go to a church or other where misinformation is being spread. Is is allowed to ask them to provide documentation from the upper levels of their religious organization that it is indeed against their religion? Not a note from the local priest mind you, but something from on high. It might not be something you are allowed to ask for though, I am not sure of all the legal implications etc.

              2. Katurah-Ari*

                You are correct. We don’t accept blood products and have confirmed none of the vaccines contain them nor blood fractions. As to taking the vaccine, like all medical decisions, it’s up to each individual. We must all have a clear conscience before God, so no one has the authority to determine what each person or family should do regarding medical issues including vaccines.

                My entire family is vaccinated. Let the hugs and play dates and girls nite out resume

                1. A*

                  “We must all have a clear conscience before God, so no one has the authority to determine what each person or family should do regarding medical issues including vaccines.”

                  While I agree with your overall sentiment that this is, to a certain extent, a private choice – I definitely am not aligned with this statement. I 100% do not need to have a clear conscience before ‘God’.

                2. New Jack Karyn*

                  A, I think that Katurah-Ari’s use of “We” was about Jehovah’s Witnesses, not the population at large.

              3. Sweet Christmas*

                I grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness, and my parents and family still belong to the religion. That’s not it. There’s no current prohibition on vaccinations and my entire family has been fully vaccinated for several months (my mother is immunocompromised).

                If that’s what she’s claiming, dollars to donuts she’s lying.

            2. TinLizi*

              I was raised in a religion that doesn’t believe in getting medical care. I’m no longer part of the religion, but my family still is. I told them that my husband (immuno-compromised) and I will not be visiting or attending any family holidays until they are vaccinated. So far, they are still refusing to be vaccinated. So, not getting to spend time with family isn’t enough incentive. I wish I could figure out what would be, but I think there should be social consequences. For example, that receptionist should have to be masked and behind plexiglass.

              1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

                I have that relative as well. They have been getting more conservative fringe for a while now, so I am not surprised by this stance. For now, I’m just avoiding them (made easier by the fact we live in different states).

              2. Seen it.*

                Yeah. So she takes her mask of to ‘drink’ or ‘eat’ but then is drinking or eating essentially all day, so never wearing a mask.

                It’s skirting the rules, but technically within the rules.

                1. Temperance*

                  She presumably can’t eat at the reception desk (hopefully). Either way, she’s a plag*e r*t and putting everyone in danger.

                2. Artemesia*

                  There is no reason to allow her to eat or drink at a reception desk or at her desk at work — require the unvaccinated to eat or drink in a separate break room just for plague rats.

                  I’d fire the receptionist who refused vaccination and was interacting with vulnerable people. Let her sue.

                3. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  That part is easy — you require her to wear a mask at all times and she can only eat/drink in a special isolated area. Breaking safety rules = firing.

                  But talk to a lawyer because a front desk job may be incompatible with this particular accommodation altogether (meaning if you can’t move her to another role, it might be undue hardship to keep her).

              3. pancakes*

                Requiring the receptionist to be masked and behind plexiglass isn’t any more of a social consequence than wearing a hard hat on a construction site – it’s basic protection. It remains basic protection regardless whether or not someone feels awkward wearing it. Social consequences would be more like her vaccinated friends and family refusing to continue spending time with her. I don’t have a problem with that happening either.

          2. Windchime*

            She needs to go visit her local COVID ICU. She needs to see the patients hooked up to so many machines you can barely see them. She needs to see the exhaustion and sadness on the faces of the people who take care of those patients. She needs to see the little stands that our Facilities guys created to hold an iPad so the dying patient could talk to their family before passing away.

            I have no patience with these people. None.

            1. pancakes*

              I don’t either, but I don’t think the problem is that they’re unaware of the world beyond their own existence, or have a toddler’s understanding of object permanence – it’s more that they simply do not care about other people’s well-being. To a large extent that mindset is normalized in the US and has been for some time.

          3. allathian*

            She’s putting immunocompromised people at risk. For all you know, she could be an asymptotic carrier. At the very least, your employer should require her to wear a mask and gloves at all times and sit behind plexiglass.

            If this accommodation would cause your employer undue hardship, it’s possible they might be able to fire her if they decide to ban unvaxxed employees from entering the building.

            If I had my way, nobody would be allowed to work in healthcare who refuses to get vaccinated, and those with medical exemptions should only be permitted to work in jobs where they don’t come in contact with immunocompromised patients. I would also not allow folks who are into alternative medicine to work in standard healthcare. Alternative medicine can be a good complement to standard healthcare but it shouldn’t be considered a valid replacement for it, YMMV.

          4. SimonTheGreyWarden*

            I have a coworker who is reluctant to get the vaccine, and I understand her reticence as a member of a community that has faced widespread and endemic discrimination in the medical field, up to and including being targets for testing out medical treatments before side effects are known. I don’t agree, but I can understand her position. She does plan to get it eventually, but wants to see more of how it “plays out”.

            In the meantime, though, she masks and social distances and does all of the other things to take care to not get it.

            1. Self Employed*

              I have a neighbor who won’t get vaccinated and she’s a waitress–so right out there with lots of unmasked people because nobody I’ve seen at a restaurant table has had a mask on even if the food hasn’t arrived yet.

              She told me the last time we ran into each other in the parking garage, “If God says it’s my time to die, if it’s not COVID, it’ll be something else.”

              I told her I didn’t want to catch COVID and spread it to other people. She didn’t think that was a good enough reason.

              If I knew where she worked, I would be very tempted to tell her employer she doesn’t care if she’s COVID Mary on their premises.

        8. Bob*

          I think you need to be a little careful in stating that the vaccine “is safe”. With any vaccine there are risks and safe is not an absolute. Personally, for me, I think the risks of getting the vaccine outweigh the risks of not getting it but that calculation isn’t necessarily the same for everyone.

          Choose your own adventure remains true but it is based on a risk assessment not simply saying the vaccines are safe.

          1. Snark*

            It is, by any standard of medicine and medical interventions, so safe and the risks are so small that simply saying it’s safe suffices for all reasonable purposes. There’s always caveats, for almost every action one might take, but getting the vaccine is safe, just as getting an x-ray is safe or taking ibuprofin is safe. The caveats are on your waiver sheet.

          2. Tired of Covid-and People*

            It’s safer than becoming infected with Covid! Risks do not mean unsafe.

          3. Neeeeewp.*

            Every vaccine is safer than the disease they prevent by a huge margin. Unless you’re allergic to something in a vaccine, you’re going to be better off getting it than whatever disease it’s protecting you from.

              1. Lokifan*

                MRNA vaccines have been studied for decades, and mRNA is currently used for cancer etc – not a sniff of long-term side effects. Also, vaccines that cause unknown side effects, cause them in the first two months – that’s been consistent since the polio vaccine 60 years ago.

                1. skipping girl*

                  do you have any sources on the 2 months info? I would love to have that in my pocket to whip out in conversations with my extended family

                2. CarolynM*

                  Skipping Girl – not who you asked, but Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has an article on their site called “Long-Term Side Effects of Covid-19 Vaccine? What we Know” that gets into specifics about unknown side effects being most likely in the first 2 months.

            1. Artemesia*

              George Washington had his troops at Valley Forge vaccinated for smallpox — back then the vaccine was very dangerous and a fair number of people died getting it — but smallpox was lethal and endemic. As someone pointed out — the risk of blood clots was one in hundreds of thousands; with birth control pills it is more like one in a couple thousand.

              1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

                And that smallpox vaccination ended up being a difference maker in the later stages of the Revolution, when the sieges in the south saw countless British soldiers die of smallpox in the trenches while the vaccinated American troops lived.

                It’s true that vaccines do vary some risks, and allergies are still things to consider individually. The difference is that herd immunity helps to protect those that can’t take the vaccines. If you choose not to vaccinate yourself, well then you have to face the fall out – which right now many include not being able to do certain things or go certain places that you want to go.

              2. Michael Scott*

                Fun fact the small pox vaccine had a mortality rate at about the same as covid-19 ~2%. It paled in comparison to the mortality rate of small pox which was 30% and much higher for infants.

          4. Temperance*

            Nope. It’s like calling shellfish “unsafe” because of a very small minority of people who have serious allergic reactions.

          5. Sweet Christmas*

            It is safe. Safe doesn’t mean there’s absolutely no risk of death; there is nothing that can guarantee that. Safe means you can be reasonably sure that you won’t be injured, so for the majority of people, the vaccine is safe. (Also, as a quantitative health psychologist, most people are really bad at calculating their risk for something.)

        9. Magenta Sky*

          The latest numbers from the CDC are:

          Chances of a “breakthrough infection” (test positive for COVID more than 2 weeks after the final shot, be it one or two): about 1 in 10,000 (this is relying on self-reporting, which is entirely voluntary, and they consider this to be significantly under-reported).

          Chances of being in the hospital with a breakthrough infection: about 1 in 100,000. (1/3 of these are in the hospital *with* COVID, but not in the hospital *because of* COVID.) These numbers are reported by hospitals, and are considered very reliable.

          Chances of dying from a breakthrough infection: about 1 in 500,000.

          We still have limited data on long term side effects, though the data looks better every day. But at this point, there’s zero doubt that these vaccines are among the most effective *ever*.

          1. Bee*

            I saw someone comment that getting vaccines THIS effective THIS fast after the discovery of the virus is a man-on-the-moon type of scientific achievement, and it’s a great parallel: the technology had been in the works for years, but the real-world urgency and serious infusion of cash got us something unbelievable, and we’re going to be seeing remarkable tag-on achievements for years, if not decades. We’re already starting to see what some of them might be!

            God, they were hoping for 60% efficacy, and we got 95% or more! It’s awe-inspiring.

            1. Magenta Sky*

              The idea of using mRNA for vaccines was first conceived 50 years ago, by the people who first discovered mRNA. (The potential was obvious to them immediately.)

              Active research to develop mRNA into a vaccine delivery system has been going on for 30 years. It was at the point of several companies getting ready to start human testing *real* *soon* when the pandemic hit. (Moderna, I believe, is getting back to their HIV vaccine right now.) Because it was a new way to doing vaccines, they were being extra cautious at every step, until suddenly there was a very compelling reason to move forward, but they were ready.

              It *seems* like the vaccine testing was rushed, but it really wasn’t. The scientific parts were done pretty much the way they always were (Phase III was faster than normal, but only because there were so many volunteers, unlike most vaccines, which struggle to even *complete* Phase III). What was sped up a lot was the red tape. Instead of taking weeks or months to review the reports on each stage before authorizing the next, the FDA folks could essentially rubber stamp everything because they already knew what was in them – they were in the labs with the researchers all along.

              And they’re only getting started, because mRNA vaccines aren’t *a* vaccine, they’re a vaccine *system*. When China published the COVID genome, Moderna had the blueprint for the vaccine they’re distributing now within 24 hours. They (and others) are working on broad-spectrum coronavirus vaccines that will eliminate about 20% of all common colds. There’s an HIV vaccine either about to start or just staring Phase I trials, and there’s at least one company working on a cancer treatment that, if it works as well as is hoped, should eventually replace surgery, chemo and radiation with a couple of shots.

              We live in an age of medical miracles.

              1. Bee*

                I saw a story a few months ago about BioNTech (who developed the Pfizer vaccine) doing testing on an mRNA treatment for MS that, in mice, not only stopped the progress of the disease but *reversed* some of the effects, which is basically unheard of. It remains to be seen whether this works in humans as well, but if it does, this is only the beginning of what we’re going to see change in our lifetimes.

                1. Magenta Sky*

                  My mother had MS for 50 years. Anything that stops it is fantastic. Anything that reverses it, even partially, is a miracle.

              2. OyHiOh*

                I was just going to comment RE HIV. Maybe, just maybe, after this year of “everyone was at risk of a deadly illness” urgency and cash infusion, maybe we’ll finally get a solid vaccine for HIV. The prophalytics and retrovirals have been an ok to good stopgap but assume access to care and enough economic standing to pay for ongoing maintinance. If we could get a two-and-done vaccine for that scourge out of this calamity, it would be a powerful public health benefit (and economic benefit – just think of the dollars people could put where they want instead of into meds, if they had the choice!)

              3. Sweet Christmas*

                This was what I was most excited for – the potential for an HIV vaccine. I used to work in HIV research and the vaccine was a dream. When they did this, I was like…dude, the effect on our future is going to be so incredibly awesome.

              4. pandop*

                Also speaking from a University research point of view (I’m not a researcher, but many of my friends are), another thing that was sped up was money. Applying for grants, waiting to hear back, etc, etc, is huge, huge, time sink in a lot of research. But there was money being thrown at this, so people could get on and do the work much faster.

              5. Greg*

                BioNTech had the vaccine written 6 hours (!!) after the Chinese uploaded the genetic coding. It’s unbelievable.

                A doctor buddy of mine said, “This was quick but it wasn’t rushed.” I thought that was one of the best lines I’d heard about it.

              6. Koalafied*

                The other thing that made the process faster was 1) not having to wait nearly as long for regulatory agencies (typically with perpetual backlogs because we habitually understaff regulatory agencies) to respond to regulatory filings throughout the process, and 2) having more staff capacity so that multiple stages of work could be completed in parallel that are normally done in sequence because it takes twice as many staff to have the Orange Team working on “stage A” and the Blue Team working on “stage B” at the same time than it does to have one team, which wouldn’t have bandwidth to turn to stage B until they’d finished stage A (not because stage B is actually dependent on stage A being completed).

                1. JustaTech*

                  The whole super-fast regulatory approval also happened because they literally put everything not COVID related on hold. Like, things that normally get turned around in 30 days sat for 6 months or more, so they could focus on the vaccines (and catching the people peddling fake cures, ugh).
                  So not only did the FDA work around the clock, but every industry regulated by the FDA took the hit to wait patiently on everything that needs approval until the vaccines were through. It was a truly epic effort by millions of people.

            2. NotAnotherManager!*

              My husband and I had this conversation recently! How freakin’ amazing is it that vaccine technology has evolved to this point? He was reading an article that talked about how the next one could be available in even less time (4-6 months) based on what was learned this time around. My mom still has a quarter-sized scar on her arm from the old-school administration of the polio vaccine, and they didn’t even have a chicken pox vaccination when I was a kid.

              1. Texan In Exile*

                It really is incredible! I think that 100 years from now, historians will recognize it as one of humankind’s most incredible accomplishments.

              2. saf*

                My 2 sisters and I had the polio vaccine, and the scars still show. My brother, 2 years younger than my youngest sister, did not have to get the polio vaccine. And none of us are of an age to have a chicken pox vaccine – we all caught it at the same time, in 1972.

                It is simply astounding the progress we have made in my lifetime. And I am not THAT old!

                1. Windchime*

                  Polio medicine was given on a sugar cube when I was a kid, and you’d better believe my parents rushed us down to get it because they had friends get sick and die of polio. I missed out on the chicken pox vaccine, but I do have a scar on my arm from my smallpox vaccine. So I’m an oldster.

                2. Artemesia*

                  scars are usually from smallpox vaccination not polio and younger kids still get polio vaccines, but not smallpox vaccines because the vaccine literally ended wild smallpox

                3. Dragon_dreamer*

                  I never got the chickenpox vaccine, because I caught it at age 8. I still bear the scars all over my body, even internally. I’m glad no one else has to deal with lungs damaged by Varicella.

                4. Sweet Christmas*

                  It’s so wild to me that little kids don’t really get chicken pox anymore (in a good way). When I was a kid, it was just expected that you’d get it, and it’s miserable. Also, that’s how you get shingles. I got shingles in my early 30s and WOW that fucking sucks.

                  I’m so glad little kids don’t have to go through that anymore and be at risk for shingles as they get older.

                5. Where’s the Orchestra?*

                  Yup – chicken pox was miserable (I was down for two weeks with it, but only missed one week of school because week two was Spring Break). I keep asking when I can have my shingles vaccine because I had such a severe case of chicken pox (and had several relatives hospitalized with shingles in their 70’s). They still won’t give me one because I supposedly don’t have to worry about shingles at only 40.

                6. Lobelia*

                  My brother was one of the first in Australia to be vaccinated for chicken pox. Unfortunately I already had it, and had my first case of shingles at 11. Shingles can happen at any age!

                7. Bagpuss*

                  Yes, my cousin got shingles when she was 18 months old :(

                  I learned a couple of years ago that I hadn’t had the measles vaccine as a child (apparently our GP at the time strongly advised against it – I think because I had a number of other health issues) So I got it done about years ago and learned that my doctor discriminates against adults getting the MMR – unlike the small child before me, I *didn’t get a sticker or lollipop! :P )

                  I’m too old to have had the chicken-pox vaccine as a child, and we all got it – we caught it from another local child whose parents *knew* she had chicken pox but chose to let her go out and play with the neighbours’ kids anyway. I, my sisters, baby brother and mum all got it. (The doctor initially told my mum that my brother couldn’t have it as she was breastfeeding him, and would pass on her immunity, and was deeply sceptical when she pointed out that she’d never had it so wouldn’t have any immunity to pass on. Apparently he was still arguing that she’d probably had it as a child and forgotten when she came out in spots and he had to admit that yes, she had it and so did my brother. My mum was pretty ill, and she’s had shingles twice since then.

                  I really can’t understand the mindset of anyone who can get vaccinated but chooses not to.

                8. I take tea*

                  When I was a kid parents still had chicken pox parties, that is, sent the kids around to catch it and have it over with. (It was the way with a lot of non-lethal children’s diseases) My parents didn’t, but I still had it, as did my father, who was really very sick. I was miserable, they were everywhere. I remember crying when I had to pee, because it hurt. And I’m not yet fifty. Times change.

                9. Generic Elf*

                  I never had chicken pox, nor was I ever vaccinated for it (the vaccine came out when I was entering college) so I was surprised when the school required a vaccination. Not that I had a problem with it, but then they offered to check my titers for it if I wanted. I said, Sure, why the hell not, I was curious and lo and behold….I had titers. I guess I was exposed as a kid but was asymptomatic.

                  My mother refuses to get the COVID vaccination. It’s like pulling teeth to get her to get her damned flu shot, and she usually refuses that, despite winding up in the emergency room once over the flu.

              3. Sleeping Late Every Day*

                I’m pretty sure the scars are from smallpox vaccine. I got that when I was around two, and my mom told me I tried to pick the scan off. The polio vaccine was oral, either in a tiny paper cup or on a sugar cube in some places.

                1. Arvolin*

                  The first polio vaccine was injected (the Salk one, if memory serves), and, not long later, the Sabin version that was taken orally came out. As an elementary school child, you can guess which I preferred.

                  And, yes, I’ll take any vaccine my doctor considers worth offering. I’ve had bad reactions to vaccines before. I’ve been sick. The vaccines are much better.

              4. Woah*

                My kindergarten daughter and I were reading itchy itchy chickenpox and I realized its vintage to her! She’s been out of school for a pandemic but hasn’t and likely won’t ever spend a ten days itching herself, bored to tears on the couch.

            3. Sweet Christmas*

              It is! I used to work in public health; when Donald Trump first promised that they’d have a vaccine by summer I laughed so hard. I thought it would be 2-3 years at least. When I started following the vaccine development I was squeeing the whole time! This is a scientific miracle and I kind of feel bad for the scientists that their grand achievement is being overshadowed by politics and ignorance.

        10. Elizabeth West*

          The more people who DON’T get vaccinated, the more variants can circulate, and the more likely we’ll need boosters, etc. Consequences won’t stick to just them, unfortunately.

          But yeah, most jobs offer incentives like health insurance discounts for non-smokers. Want the discount? You gotta quit smoking. My phone games offer a reward (hints, points, etc) if I sit through an ad. Hellooooo, I don’t get the rewards until I watch the ad!

      2. kittymommy*

        LOL, I live in a state that has a “passport” ban and I am not happy about it. I don’t want these unvaccinated little twats in the restaurant with me. It’s bad enough I work with a lot of them (“ooh it’s poison but I’ll let everyone else get vaccinated so then I won’t have to.”) they need to stay the hell out of my cocktail habit.

        1. Liz*

          I see you’ve met my relatives who live in what I think is probably the same state. Not getting it because the whole virus and pandemic was COMPLETELY blown out of proportion, blah blah blah. Yet who whine about being inconvenienced when they do need to wear a mask, etc.

          Karma’s a bitch though. They enjoy cruising and go on at least two a year. But now can’t since once they start back up, passengers must be vaccinated! hahahahahahahaa

        2. Anon out west*

          I live in a state whose dominant party in the legislature is so anti-vax that they not only banned COVID vaccine passports but banned any employer or business from asking/requiring ANY vaccine of any employee or customer. Which meant that even hospitals and nursing homes couldn’t require their employees or visitors to be vaccinated against flu, measles, etc. They’ve apparently made a limited exception for hospitals and nursing homes now, but it’s a complete mess. It’s going to do a lot of harm.

          1. Llellayena*

            So who can we blame for the upcoming meningitis outbreak on the college campuses?

            1. Anon out west*

              Oh hey don’t worry about that; the same legislature also passed a law requiring the universities to allow concealed carry of firearms on campus, so they’ll just shoot all them pesky germs.

              I can only hope that this year is the high-water mark for stupid public policy.

              1. NotRealAnonForThis*

                If 2020 has taught me anything, its never ever tempt the universe. (I share that hope but mannnnnnnn)

              1. introverted af*

                Llellayena’s point was that under the new law, businesses (like college dorms) can’t require any vaccine of any employee or customer, and meningitis spreads easily in communal living situations. I know my dorm required a meningitis vaccine to live there, and I never heard of anybody getting a case while I lived there or when I worked there as an RA.

                1. Kaitydidd*

                  Mine did, too. I learned that the meningitis vaccine existed when I got a letter from my school informing me I was required to get one. I was on the phone making an appointment immediately. I lost the hearing in my right ear to bacterial meningitis as a baby, and have no desire to let my meninges get inflamed again.

                2. Artemesia*

                  My cousin’s baby was left deaf and developmentally disabled from meningitis which she caught in a medical setting — well baby check situation. Many of the other babies that caught it died. My cousin’s baby lived for 45 years – deaf and developmentally about 18 mos old. My cousin’s entire life was spent caring for her.

                  Anyone who has seen what these diseases do makes sure their kids are protected (the vaccine was not available for my cousin).

                3. WS*

                  There was no vaccine when my youngest brother attended university, he caught bacterial meningitis on his second week there (via a party with a big tub of beer that everyone repeatedly scooped their used cups through!) and nearly died.

                4. Where’s the Orchestra?*

                  How my university got around the stupid dorm ban on vaccines was making it a University Requirement. You wish to attend physical classes, then you must have all of the following vaccines (or medical paperwork stating that you were medically unable to get the vaccines). No vaccines – well, here is the classes list for online options.

                  (Oh, I graduated from college almost 20 years ago – vaccine stupidity is unfortunately nothing new in certain idiotic circles.)

                5. Woah*

                  my university had an outbreak and within three days there was a massive tent and free vaccines for everyone who cared to stop by for a jab. It was then required to attend. It is now just required for dorms and for campus affiliated congregate housing (like greek life, etc).

                6. JustaTech*

                  My brother almost died of meningitis when he was 6 months old, so you can bet your buttons when my college said “you need a meningitis shot” I was like “I’ll take two!”.

                  I recently learned that when my college opened in the early 1960’s they required a chest x-ray of every student to make sure they didn’t have TB. (They don’t require that now, but I do think you have to have a clear TB test.)

          2. Pickled Limes*

            Question: Would it be illegal for a hospital or other health care entity to refuse to hire a candidate who is anti-vaccination? Because I’m 100% on board with the idea of not having to wonder if my health care providers think vaccines work or not.

            1. Anon out west*

              You’d hope they wouldn’t hire anti vaxxers, right? But a nearby county appointed to its *board of public health* an actual MD who is an antivaxxer, so we’re fairly far into bizarro world here.

              1. Frieda*

                I think my parents live in that county. If so, the MD you refer to is quite something. If not, there’s two, which is depressing.

            2. MassMatt*

              Why would this be illegal? Stupidity isn’t a protected class. There are really not that many illegal reasons an employer can refuse to hire someone, and even those reasons are easily explained away as being for some other reason.

              1. Snailing*

                The only way I could think is if the candidate could successfully argue that they are anti-vaccination on religious grounds, and thus the employer would tangentially be discrimination against that religion buuuut…it’s flimsy.

                1. Calliope*

                  I think there’s a couple of different possibilities – if they have “sincerely held religious beliefs” (the formulation I normally see) prohibiting vaccination, I think you generally need to provide reasonable accommodations, which might include something like wearing a mask while vaccinated people are unmasked. If you can’t reasonably accommodate that (e.g., due to working with a very vulnerable population or something like that), then that’s different.

                  If the issue is actually that they’re telling patients (for example) that vaccines are an evil government conspiracy, I think that is not protected.

                2. Bagpuss*

                  I would think that telling others vaccination ere evil would give grounds to sack them – and even if they claimed that that was their reasonably held religious belief, would that not mean that they were proselytizing ? I would have thought that an argument could be made that that would infringe on other employees freedom of religion / respect for their beliefs, like prayer in business meetings, and give employers ground to forbid it .

                  I’m not aware of any mainstream religious arguing against vaccination – is it mainly Christian sects who have the ‘you should trust god and if you get sick that’s his plan for you’ views, or are there others?

                  I know that here (UK) there were concerns from some Muslims as to whether getting the vaccine during Ramadan amounted to breaking your fast, and a lot of Imans made public statements about why you should still get your shots (I think that a lot of places with large Muslim communities ran extra vaccination clinics after sun down as well)

            3. Here we go again*

              How’d you prove that someone was anti vaccination or couldn’t get it for health reasons without violating their health privacy?

              1. Dahlia*

                Why wouldn’t you be allowed to ask for documentation though? If you can ask for a doctor’s note for a sick day…

              2. Lecturer*

                I’ve had a toxic reaction to medication in the past which could have killed me. It didn’t matter, the only check is if you’ve ever been in Anaphylactic shock. I don’t know if all cases of Anaphylactic shock apply. What I do know for a fact is people are at a much much higher risk from COVID than the vaccine. But you can’t be protected if you don’t declare a health issue (see Allison’s other articles). ADA accommodations don’t include guessing about health issues.

                1. Bagpuss*

                  No – I think only if it was in respect of a previous vaccine – I’ve had anaphylaxis before and they weren’t concerned about me.

                  The question I was asked was specific to those allergies (vaccines or other medications) but I did mention mine anyway, and they double-checked then gave me the shot. (They were firmer with me than with others in the queue about waiting the 15 minutes before I left, but that may also have been because I was driving and was on my own)

                2. JB (not in Houston)*

                  @Bagpuss The concern wasn’t only about reactions to previous vaccines, I don’t think? I had to wait 30 minutes after mine because of my food allergies.

              3. Calliope*

                There actually isn’t a law about asking people for health information in most cases in the U.S..

              4. TinLizi*

                As a kid, I had to get a special pass signed by the head of the church to exempt me from vaccinations due “sincerely held religious beliefs” (my mom’s beliefs; not mine). I got myself fully vaccinated as an adult.

              5. Sweet Christmas*

                Health privacy laws in the U.S., at least, apply to how health care entities can share and store your private health information. They don’t have anything to say about corporations asking for your health information, whether it’s for the purpose of employment or the purpose of allowing you into the venue. Theoretically, you could always choose to work somewhere else, or not go to the venue.

            4. Lora*

              NOPE.

              Source: work in biotech, making drugs in clean rooms. All your drugs including vaccines are required to be manufactured by people who are fully vaccinated or else have protective level titers against communicable diseases for which there is a vaccine. If we make vaccines at the facility, being vaccinated is generally required to work on the vaccine itself – though with Covid we have just said, you have to get one of the Covid vaccines, not necessarily the exact ones being made, just get vaccinated to keep your germs to a minimum please.

              This is disclosed to job applicants in the initial application paperwork, along with “you gotta be able to lift 30+ pounds, lots of walking and standing, bending over etc” sort of boilerplate info we have in the application process. Additionally you have to be able to wear various not-so-comfy PPE, so if you need orthotics or something to wear steel toe boots, that’s also on you.

              We have a company nurse at every site, and during onboarding she reviews your vaccination records, drug tests, lung function tests, various other health records to be sure you aren’t going to drop dead from overheating in 4 layers of Tyvek suits and PPE and a respirator. She takes a couple vials of blood if you need titers checked for booster shots, which the company pays for.

              You do not have to get a vaccine only if you already have a protective titer. For example I am an Old who had already had chickenpox twice before the vaccine was invented, so I do not need to be vaccinated for that one (do need to be vaccinated for shingles soon though…).

              It is treated like any other physical job: there are some jobs where, if you have a disability which cannot be reasonably accommodated, the employer does not have to accommodate you. Since it’s such an individual thing, it’s evaluated case by case based on the description of the job tasks.

              1. NotRealAnonForThis*

                May I emphasize “please nab that shingles vax once you can”? My “light” case of CP as a child has let to more than one occurrence of shingles since I was old enough to vote, and I’m STILL not technically “old enough” to get the vaccine? And yes, I’m aware “you’re not supposed to get it more than once”. Someone want to explain that to my body please? Yes, my Doc was baffled. Yes, he rechecked it. So. Spare yourself the pain!

                1. Windchime*

                  Agree. My sister had a mild case of shingles, and she got a lesion on her ear drum. That kicked off months of illness, dizziness, balance problems and just plain feeling gross. Shingles is nothing to mess around with.

                2. Artemesia*

                  My FIL died of the cascade of medical events that began with severe shingles — you can bet that my husband and I got the vaccines asap. Even on Medicare it has cost the two of us near $1000 to get both sets of shots — that is WITH insurance.

                3. Lora*

                  Oh definitely! Two of my uncles had shingles and they were miserable. Per GSK I am plenty old enough, but I think my doctor has the age 60 stuck in her head – it’s 50 now.

                  I’ve done enough travel now, only other things I haven’t been vaccinated for are Japanese encephalitis and Ebola. Though I’d love to see the gorilla sanctuary on the Rwanda/Zaire border so an Ebola vax may be on the to do list…

                4. KaciHall*

                  I got singles the first time when I was 23 and didn’t go to the doctor for it because it was just a rash, I’m too young for shingles. (Three weeks later at my annual checkup my refuse doctor was horrified and my car wasn’t dangerous. Just painful.) 25 for the second and it was barely painful – if you go to the doctor and get antivirals the second you feel sick, it actually makes a huge difference.

                  That said, I’m still too young for the vaccine and I get ticked off about it frequently. I would love the vaccine but even my doctor won’t precipice the vaccine for me because ‘no one gets it twice.’ Despite already having it twice…

                5. WS*

                  My partner recently got shingles for the second time, so I did some research and it turns out that yes, you can get shingles any number of times, though rarely within five years of the last bout unless you’re immunocompromised.

                1. WS*

                  You can, if your body doesn’t make enough antibodies the first time around. It usually happens if you’re under 5 the first time. Or if you later have measles, which wipes out all your immunities.

                2. Eeyore's Missing Tail*

                  Yup, I had it twice. I had a light case as an infant and a more severe case when I was in kindergarten.

                3. Lora*

                  Yes. First time I was about 18 months old and only had a few pox, according to my mother. Second time I was 17 and it was misery. Spent a lot of it absolutely zonked on sedatives to stop scratching my skin bloody. There weren’t antivirals commonly prescribed then either, it was just a thing you had to suffer with.

              2. Keymaster of Gozer*

                Yup! It’s been a long time since I was a virologist but that was pretty much the rigmorale we went through.

                If you were against using vaccines, or human cell lines to grow viruses or a whole slew of other stuff it just wasn’t the job for you. Same as if someone wanted to be a pharmacist but had morals against prescribed medication.

                1. somanyquestions*

                  You’d think that would stop people from becoming pharmacists, but as long as they only discriminate against women no one seems to care and their union defends the practices vociferously.

              3. Jay*

                This. I’m a doc. For every job I’ve ever had, I’ve had to either show records of vaccination against Hep B, chicken pox, rubella, polio, mumps, and measles (plus the usual tetanus boosters) or have titers drawn. I developed my immunity to rubella, mumps, and chicken pox the old-fashioned way so I now have my titer results filed away with my license and board certification info.

                My current job requires the flu shot and has not yet started requiring the COVID vaccine for patient-facing roles, which is INFURIATING. For a variety of logistical reasons they can’t offer it themselves and there were access issues in parts of the country. None of that is a problem any more and they still haven’t announced a requirement. Ugh.

          3. Charlotte Lucas*

            The minute my grandmother entered a care home is when I started getting a flu shot every year. I wasn’t going to risk spreading the flu to a bunch of people in fragile health. And I know someone for whom many vaccines don’t work. Her body doesn’t hold the immunity. Why put her at risk if I can do something about it?

            And ask older members of the Deaf community what they think of these kinds of policies. Many people lost all or some of their hearing due to “harmless” childhood illnesses.

            1. Artemesia*

              I know someone deaf because of measles (and a child of family friends died of measles)

            2. Kat in VA*

              I’m 50. A family friend I grew up with, who is a few years older than me was a perfectly normal, healthy baby until around 8mos of age, they tell me.

              She then caught scarlet fever and nearly died.

              I guess the upside is that I have some limited ASL and can fingerspell the alphabet – that I learned from her because she’s profoundly deaf.

              1. BcAugust*

                I caught scarlet fever as a kid. Nearly died, permanent nerve and vision damage. I’m also allergic to one vaccine(DPT), and have bad reactions to the flu vaccine.

                I was still in line as early as possible to get the Covid shot(Had the 24hr flu stuff after the second shot, nothing else), has now been fully immunized for a month now! Though I still wear a mask, because why stress out the essential workers more?
                But yeah, I have no respect with people who refuse to get vaccinated, and I worry about the possibility of new variants.

        3. PT*

          “Vaccinated people don’t have to wear masks!” says an unvaccinated person, petulantly, when asked why they are not wearing a mask.

          These people are the WORST.

          1. Artemesia*

            I am still wearing a mask in grocery stores and similar because I know that anti-vaxers are lying POSs and thus all the unmasked people are almost certainly not vaccinated.

            1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

              Same here – fully vaccinated (got my jabs thru work) so eligible to not have to mask – and still masking because I know that there are people in my city lying about their vaccination status (and junior orchestra 2 is t yet eligible for a vaccine as they are still finishing trials for their age group).

              1. SilentStars*

                Same. My office declared that as of June 1st the vaccinated can go maskless. I am still seeing most of my coworkers masked. Quite a few have said they were vaxxed but feel more comfortable wearing masks.

                1. JustaTech*

                  That’s me too. Not everyone here is fully vaxxed, and several people have little kids who can’t get the shot yet, and honestly I’m just not ready to hang my face out all over the place yet.

            2. Spotted Kitty*

              I’m still wearing masks in stores at this point, but I am vaccinated and have stopped wearing a mask outside. I’ll likely stop wearing one indoors when they’re no longer required by individual businesses. There’s an unfortunate thing going around that people still wearing masks thinks EVERYONE who’s not wearing a mask is not vaxxed, and that’s just not true.

              1. TheLayeredOne*

                The problem is that it’s impossible to know, and there is some unknown percentage people who are lying about their vaccination status, so the safest option (for those who want to be cautious) is to continue masking. I’m high-risk and I have a young child who isn’t eligible for the vaccine, so I continue to mask indoors and my kid does, too. I totally respect other vaxxed people who choose not to mask indoors, but I simply can’t trust that everyone in the grocery store is following CDC guidelines.

        4. Tired of Covid-and People*

          Passport bans are stupid. Some people really only care about themselves, don’t they? Sometime I hate the lack of community in the US.

        5. Zelda*

          Some years back, during a severe drought in my state, washing cars was banned for a month or so, along with watering restrictions and a host of other controls on non-essential uses of water. Some owners of car washes whined that they were being unfairly singled out as heavy users of water.

          I was like, no, you’re bing FAIRLY singled out as heavy users of water. ‘I don’t get everything I want’ =/= ‘unfair.’

          1. dogmom*

            Whenever there was a drought in my hometown, there would be a ban on lawn watering for a few weeks. And my ultra-conservative malignant narcissist mother would just reset her sprinkler system to go off at 2am instead of 7am so she wouldn’t get caught, even though having an emerald green lawn in a sea of otherwise crunchy brown lawns would tip anyone off. She also refused to recycle, for no reason other than “I don’t do that,” and I’m certain she won’t get a shot or wear a mask either. Some people just don’t give two craps about anything other than themselves.

            1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

              And then these are the people who complain the loudest when they face the outcomes of their choices.

              My relative like that complained that I wouldn’t put my unvaccinated children (one is still too young, the other gets does one on Saturday as that’s the earliest I could get them an appointment) on an airplane to go visit him this summer. Yeah – he’s on my “not talking to you right now” list. Be a while before he comes off. Hopefully by next summer I can take my kids back to visit great-grandpa and the other relatives in that area.

      3. Momma Bear*

        Are these same people aware that school districts can require a child to be vaccinated before being allowed to attend? I had to get a series of boosters for college or I wasn’t allowed to live on campus.

        1. The Original K.*

          It’s nuts to me that some people are acting like this is new. I had to get vaccines and show proof of them before I went to college – I remember that doctor’s appointment because my doctor, who I was very close to, was so excited for me to be going to my first choice school. She was like “LET’S DO THIS!” about the boosters. My sibling and I had to be vaccinated for camp. There are countries right now, today, that require vaccination before you can enter. The military requires vaccines. This isn’t new!

        2. Guacamole Bob*

          There are a lot of people who seem to feel that the fact that the covid vaccines have “emergency use authorization” rather than full FDA approval is relevant to their decisions about vaccination and about whether it should be required. All the childhood stuff has FDA approval, I’m pretty sure, as does the annual flu shot.

          The difference may or may not be medically meaningful, but I’ve seen it mentioned a lot.

          1. Yorick*

            It has emergency approval because this is, you know, an emergency. So you’d think they’d understand not wanting unvaccinated people running around maskless everywhere.

            1. Charlotte Lucas*

              Yes! It’s fully tested, but the timeline was stepped up & it got the reviews, etc., that other meds would have gotten if 2020 were a different year. Basically, the vaccines were moved to the front of the line at every step.

              1. PT*

                And part of the reason the reviews were able to be sped up, was because of how much COVID was spreading in society at the time they were testing the vaccines. It can take years to test an infectious disease vaccine for diseases like measles, mumps, whooping cough because so few people in the test and control group will be exposed to those diseases in any given year because previous vaccine campaigns were so successful.

                But COVID was so rampant in the summer and fall of 2020, it was really easy to tell if the vaccines were working or not. Pretty much everyone who participated in the study was exposed, multiple times.

                1. Elizabeth West*

                  I’ve had to explain to people that the overall vaccine SCIENCE wasn’t rushed; they’ve been working on that for a while. They just cut through a lot of the red tape. I will include this in my explanation.

          2. MP*

            I work as a provider in a hospital system and my employers mandate that we have up to date vaccines for pretty much everything, including annual flu shots, but can’t mandate the covid vaccine because of its emergency use status. You can be sure that they will the second it’s fully authorized though! (Or at least, this is my assumption!)

            1. Aggretsuko*

              I can’t WAIT for full authorization, as the anti-vaxxers I know who work here will be forced to get one. One presumes, anyway. Too bad that’s not likely before September, sigh.

              1. Not anti-vaxx*

                Just because someone doesn’t want to get a Covid vaccine doesn’t mean they are an anti-vaxxer. I have had MMR vaccine; I believe Covid is real, I believe vaccines work, I don’t think this one has a microchip it in. But I am not ready to get this vaccine yet.

                1. Snark*

                  Then I certainly hope you are continuing to mask, social distance, and avoid restaurants and events and multi-household gatherings. There really aren’t valid reasons for this position, but if that’s the decision you’re making, I do hope you’re accepting the responsibilities that come along with it.

                2. Elizabeth West*

                  What Snark said; please be taking the appropriate precautions. I don’t want you to get sick or make anyone else sick. Nobody knows how bad their COVID will be until they get it, and then it’s too late.

                  FWIW, everyone I know who’s gotten the mRNA vaccines has had mild to moderate side effects (including me) or none, and we’re all fine. I’m not the Winter Soldier yet, as far as I can tell! ;)

                3. Sweet Christmas*

                  If you have the MMR vaccine, which was originally developed in the 1960s, why wouldn’t you want the coronavirus vaccine, which is safer and more effective than the MMR?

                4. Eliza*

                  Can you say why?

                  FWIW, I’m asking sincerely and I’ll ask others to please consider prioritizing having a productive conversation about your concerns over indulging their feelings about it.

            2. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

              Yes, my employer (higher ed) has announced it will be mandatory for faculty staff and students as soon as a vaccine receives full approval — they already are working on the policy including medical/religious exemptions. Right now, they want us to simply report if we’ve been vaccinated — they don’t care which one since there are several vaccines available in my area. But as soon as one gets the full FDA approval, the mandatory kicks in.

              1. Anon for this*

                Do you mind sharing your general region? Another higher ed minion here, and we went mandatory recently. We’re getting a lot of “I’ll just transfer, then” from unvaccinated students, and we’ve had to gently warn them that other schools are likely to follow suit. I’m curious about when we can expect to see that happening. (I’m also curious about whether we’re even right about that. Even though I hope they’ll get vaccinated and DO currently believe that most brick and mortar colleges will go vaccine mandatory sooner than later, our job is to make them aware of the potential obstacles, not feed them “you can’t escape this, might as well comply” propaganda.)

                1. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

                  I’m in Southern California, which was hit hard by the pandemic and a state that took the pandemic seriously. So I imagine if a student wants to stay in SoCal or even the whole state, they will probably find that most schools will institute a vaccine policy; but if they are the kind of student who is good with transferring to Idaho or Texas or Alabama — they don’t really care where, then they will likely find schools in those regions don’t mandate it. I’m also at a private school that not only didn’t have a drop in enrollment during the pandemic, we actually increased.

                2. Anonforthisone*

                  I do get a private chuckle out of all the people swearing they will never get it (because they are anti-vax or believe conspiracies) because eventually this is going to end up required a lot of places and sooner or later, they will run into one they can’t avoid (or they will have a very small life not doing anything they want to do).

          3. ObservantServant*

            I’ve heard that thrown around a lot, too – it will be interesting to see if the same folks using EUA status as an excuse get it once it’s formally approved

              1. OhNo*

                I think for some it is. “I don’t wanna” gets pushback, “it’s a conspiracy” gets pushback, “it’s just political maneuvering” gets pushback… but “Oh, I’m just worried because it’s under EUA so we’re not 100% sure that it’s safe” gets sympathetic nods and maybe some polite conversation.

                I suppose for some people the fear could be valid, but unfortunately many people that I’ve met personally seem to be using it to avoid negative interpersonal consequences for their decision not to get vaccinated.

                1. MarsJenkar*

                  I had, and still have, some concerns about potential unknown consequences of the vaccine, since by definition it can take years for some of them to show up.

                  Still got the vaccine, though. Decided the consequences of *not* getting it were far worse, all told.

                2. meyer lemon*

                  The nature of vaccines is that they only stay in the body for a short time, so any side effects you might experience will appear within a month or two.

                3. TeamPfizer*

                  @MarsJenkar That’s simply untrue. I can’t find the report now, but vaccines are incredibly well studied and there simply has not been one where major side effects showed up more than a couple of weeks after administration. Side effects do not take “years” to appear. Ever. That’s mostly why the EUAs were granted so quickly in the first place. The FDA prefers a longer term study prior to approval, but it’s not necessary, that’s just not the way the immune system works. The longer studies are simply to see how long the increased immunity can be expected to last, not to look for late arrival side-effects.

            1. fhqwhgads*

              I’m really hoping this is a genuine concern for a lot of the not-yet-vaxxed people, rather than just using it as an excuse. Because if it’s the former, YAY they’re gonna get vaxxed pretty darn soon.

              1. pancakes*

                Genuine concern about what, exactly? Their own high esteem for FDA authorization processes? It’s almost certainly a handy excuse rather than some sort of deeply-held and well-informed reverence for every step of the full authorization process.

              2. Firsttimeposter*

                I work in higher education in an academic lab. The lab head, grad students and post-docs ran out and got vaccinated as soon as they could. However our admin support person is like “I’m waiting to see which one is right for me”. Not sure what metric they are waiting for to be honest.

          4. Sleeping Late Every Day*

            But most anti-vaxxers are intentionally ignorant about science, so they’re just repeating what they hear from other wilfully ignorant people.

          5. Sweet Christmas*

            That’s because people are pretending to know or give a fuck about a variety of medical things. I’ve been so amused and baffled by people who suddenly care about the length of Phase III trials, which brand their vaccine is, and emergency use FDA authorization when I guarantee you they had no idea those things existed a year ago.

            1. Frank Doyle*

              To be fair, I think (hope) a lot of us are more informed about medical and scientific topics surrounding viruses than we were a year ago! That’s just the nature of our situation.

            2. A*

              FWIW, I think the vaccine brand issue is somewhat valid. I think it’s splitting hairs to compare Pfizer to Moderna, but I absolutely took this into account when selecting my vaccination site. The J&J vaccine is slightly less effective (in addition to the risk of blood clots, although personally I’m not concerned about that – at least not any more so than the risk from my BC pills), and while I would have gotten it if it was the only option – why not seek out the more effective ones if the supply and access is steady in the area?

              I view that very differently than the other examples you listed.

          6. EchoGirl*

            I’ve heard that at least one of them is pretty close to full approval, so hopefully if that is causing some of the hesitancy, that subset at least will be willing to get vaccinated once that happens.

          7. JustaTech*

            But hopefully most of that will be ironed out before summer is over, as both Moderna and Pfizer have submitted for full approval (for adults, the kids stuff is ongoing).

        3. valprehension*

          For real! I’ve been calling my kid’s vaccination record her “vaccine passport” since long before covid happened.

          1. Windchime*

            Yeah, all this pearl-clutching about a vaccine passport is ridiculous. My kids got little cards when they were tiny tots. They were filled out at every appointment, and I had to submit them to the school when they enrolled in Kindergarten to verify that they were vaccinated. It’s not new, people.

            1. Artemesia*

              The issue for travel is having a reliable record that other countries can trust — I wish they would literally link vaccination records to our passports and in lieu of that have a vaccine passport tied to national digital records.

        4. Botanist*

          Oh, man. I used to have a roommate who worked for the state and a big part of her job was collecting vaccination records from school and keeping track of students who weren’t vaccinated, and making sure that parents who opted out of vaccination watched informative videos and signed waivers. A big part of that education was to explain to the parents what there responsibilities were in case of a disease outbreak. So when there was an outbreak of measles in the state several years ago, the schools/my roommate were contacting these parents and informing them that since their children weren’t vaccinated against measles, they would need to keep them home in a sort of reverse quarantine while the outbreak lasted. Which was explained in the videos and the documents they signed. The response, sadly predictably, was outrage on the parts on these parents. And I just really scratch my head that these people seemed to think that they got a completely free ride by opting out of vaccines. Nope, you get to do what people did before there were vaccines- quarantine and keep your distance to prevent disease spread that way.
          I wonder the same think about some people who I have heard express that they want to wait a couple years to make sure no subtle long-term effects of the COVID vaccine pop up. And I can kind of get behind that idea, there have been class-action lawsuits against several medications that went through FDA approval. But what I really wonder is, if these people are opting out of the vaccine, do they think that gives them a free pass to do whatever they want in the meantime, or do they recognize that it’s incumbent on them to maintain other measures to prevent disease spread, like masking and distancing? Somehow I doubt they have put the two together in their minds.

        5. Caterpillar*

          Those school requirements were literally the ONLY reason I was vaccinated as a child. Mother is a major anti-vax crazy, but thankfully she didn’t have the patience to do home school or she would never have gotten me vaccinated.

          As it is, I got the flu so bad every single year that I spent a week or more in bed every winter, up until I went to college and could get the shot without her knowing. Haven’t had the flu more than once since I started getting the shot and it’s so nice not spending a week in complete misery every year.

        6. TinLizi*

          Myself and my siblings never got vaccinated as kids, due to my parents’ religion. They just had to get some waiver signed by the church. I was also exempted from eye/ear exams and most of health class. I’m lucky that I never had any major health issues.

          At least for this religion, they would never even try to work in health care. I know people still in the church who mute medical ads on the TV and think it’s wrong to work in a restaurant that serves alcohol. Some won’t drink tea and coffee or eat chocolate, because caffeine is a drug.

          I’ve left the religion and I’m vaccinated, but my siblings aren’t.

          1. learnedthehardway*

            I will never understand people who use religion to basically neglect their kids’ health and safety.

            1. TinLizi*

              It’s really bad. Kids have died of easily preventable diseases. The number of people I know from this religion with hearing loss, because of childhood ear infections is staggering.

              Unfortunately, they were a fairly powerful lobbying force in the 70s and are responsible for a lot of the religious exemptions on the books today. Fortunately, membership is shrinking now, but the damage has still been done.

        7. NotAnotherManager!*

          They can, but most states offer a way of opting out, either for medical reasons (verified by a physician) or sincerely held religious belief (taking the word of the parent that the belief is sincerely held, because how do you prove that?). Anti-vaxxers in my state simply claim the religious exemption. More stringent states only allow for verified medical exception, but it’s controversial with the anti-vax set.

          My children are fully vaccinated (including the one who’s old enough having the COVID jab), but I get the exemption form with in the registration packets.

      4. Lizzo*

        I will never understand the resistance to vaccine passports. I have a page stapled into my passport that shows all my current vaccinations. Some of them are required in order to enter specific countries (e.g. more than a dozen countries in Africa require proof of a yellow fever vaccine upon entry). This isn’t a new concept, nor is it threatening my freedoms to take very reasonable medical precautions for the privilege of going places.

        1. Llellayena*

          Yep, I have nice little yellow card that I carry with me overseas listing my vaccinations. Funny thing though, I took that card to the COVID vaccine place and no one there was authorized to add my COVID vaccine to that card. In fact no one seemed to know what it even was. Y’all THIS is the vaccine passport everyone is shouting about…the one that it seems we need to invent?

        2. sofar*

          I’m vaccinated (was in one of the trials, in fact), and my issue with vaccine passports for *domestic* travel is equity. Are they going to be easy to get? What are barriers/costs to getting them? What paperwork and in-person appointments are required? These things can be significant for low-income people with inflexible jobs and language barriers.

          The vaccine is easy to get, and, as long as the documentation provided AT the point of vaccination serves as a vaccine passport, fine. If extra hoops are involved, I get concerned. Or what if your vaccine passport encounters processing delays, preventing you from traveling?

          I’d hate to see someone who needs to travel for an emergency grounded and a wealthier person with fewer barriers able to travel on vacation.

          …On the other hand, I’d like my vaccine-refusing family to be prevented from traveling to see the grandkids (to motivate them to get vaccinated), so let’s just say my views are complicated and evolving.

          1. Sleeping Late Every Day*

            I thought “vaccine passport” was just a buzzphrase used by anti-vaxxers to rile up the ignorant. Everyone who gets vaccinated gets a card. Just carry the card in your wallet. I also have a picture of it on my phone just in case.

            1. Sweet Christmas*

              The concern with the cards is that they are very easy to counterfeit, and there’s a strong motivation (and likely a lot of demand) for people to create fake ones. So, many states have explored different ways to validate vaccines that are harder to fake. New York is trying an app called the Excelsior pass, but it also requires that any business that uses the Excelsior pass also must accept a vaccine card.

              1. JustaTech*

                Honestly the yellow fever ones are easy to counterfeit too, it’s just that most people either can’t be bothered to find a fake one, or understand the very real risks of yellow fever and get the shot.

                It’s on my list to get, but my friends joke that I collect vaccines like they’re Pokemon.

          2. Chinookwind*

            Like others, I have the “original vaccine passport” – a little yellow book. But my concern with using them locally is that it doesn’t take into consideration natural immunity of those who survived covid. If I can’t get the chicken pox vaccine because I had chicken pox, why shpuld soemone who survived covid get that vaccine? Can’t we have a box in that passport noting survival too?

        3. Elizabeth West*

          Yeah, public health requirements aside, I really wouldn’t want to take a vacation and then get something like yellow fever, which I understand is not fun.

        4. OyHiOh*

          Yup. The “yellow card” is exactly what I thought of when the idea of vaccination passports first started floating around. You can kinda tell who has traveled, where in the world based on which version of outrage or support they voice. People who have traveled outside Europe and North America tend not to see it as that big of a deal. Vaccines have been required for entry many places for decades.

        5. Artemesia*

          I still have that little yellow vaccine passport with my yellow fever vax record that is 50 or so years old.

          1. Lizzo*

            You don’t need a passport to have the vaccine “passport” (yellow card) that I’m referring to, but the two usually go hand-in-hand because you need both to travel to many places abroad. The point was that the concept of a vaccine passport isn’t new.

      5. Brett*

        Living in a major metro area with some heavy segregation problems, poor people, especially people of color, are still having enormous access issues here.
        Quite simply, no one is offering vaccines within miles of where they live and work, and the vaccines are only being offered during normal work hours for the most part. Making even worse, the largest vaccine site that was closest to these areas (but still a long walk) has shut down. Even worse, people are scared to get vaccinated because of the side effects: they cannot afford to miss 1-2 days of work because the second dose makes them feel ill (on top of time missed to get the vaccine).

        So, they are willfully choosing not to vaccinate, but that willful choice is being driven by the monetary decision of missing work. Compound that with already living in a food desert and needing public transportation to get anywhere outside walking range, and vaccine passports are a serious threat.

        1. Brett*

          To get an idea of the scope of the issue, the area I am talking about is around 30 square miles with over 150k people living in it.

          And has 2 walgreens and 1 CVS.

          1. A Genuine Scientician*

            Highly variable across regions, of course, but this is a fair concern.

            My midsized rust belt city is around 30 square miles with about 120k living in it; combined metro area is about 550k.

            There are ~35 chain pharmacies offering the vaccine within the city limits, about 15 more in the immediate suburbs, and I suspect some more in the small city 40 minutes away that’s considered part of the same metropolitan statistical area.

            There are / were also 4 mass vaccination sites set up (schools, an old Sears, etc), including the county fair grounds open on the weekends. The one I volunteered at had medical translators available, and enough of us with conversational levels of non-English languages to be sure we got the right translators to the right cars.

            I suspect that there are some logistical challenges with regards to the mass vaccinate sites for people working certain shifts, but most of the pharmacies here are open somewhere around 7am – 8pm. That means it is possible for almost anyone to get to one, though it will be admittedly be harder for those without reliable access to transportation.

            We’re at the point of shutting down the mass sites due to low demand, and the county is shifting to pop up clinics in community centers, churches, libraries, etc, since some communities feel safer in these locations than coming to a central point for a larger group. Around here at least, people who aren’t vaccinated are either choosing to not be, too young, or medically contraindicated (eg undergoing chemo).

            And yes, I put those who are unvaccinated due to religious reasons under the category of choosing to not be vaccinated. They are. Or their parents are choosing for them to not be vaccinated.

            1. allathian*

              Yeah. I guess I’m glad I’m in a country where even kids have some medical autonomy, especially regarding vaccinations. Here we have a decent NHS and vaccines on the program are free, including Covid. Some 12-year-olds have gone against their parents wishes and got the HPV vaccine, this was allowed because they were considered mature enough to make that decision for themselves.

              JW kids have been taken into care to get them the medical treatment their parents refuse on their behalf, when the kid was in mortal danger. At least in one case it was because the parents asked the authorities to do it, they didn’t want the treatment on their conscience, but if they had allowed the child to die, they would have been guilty of some form of homicide.

              And I heartily agree with you. People can choose to participate in a religion or not, and to choose the extent to which they comply with the requirements of said religion.

              1. Bagpuss*

                Yes – Gillick Competence is a wonderful thing (And it has always slightly amused me that he name of someone who wanted to prevent her child accessing medical advice is forever linked the the rules securing the rights of children to do just that!)

                The potential criminal offence would be ‘causing or allowing a child or vulnerable person to die or suffer serious physical harm’ which can include neglect or failure to obtain appropriate medical treatment

        2. not that kind of Doctor*

          I wouldn’t call this willful though. They would get it but they don’t have access.

        3. Artemesia*

          I don’t understand why the state isn’t arranging with workplaces to offer mobil van vaccination services and why the state doesn’t require time off for recovery.

          1. Brett*

            In our state, all of the vaccination aid for the two largest metros come only through the federal government. They have mobile vaccinations in the rest of the state, but not in this city. On the bright side, the core city received hundreds of millions of dollars in aid, but they are spending that mostly on rental assistance.
            I think the state simply doesn’t have the budget to pay for mandatory paid leave. That’s the reason the local governments are not mandating it.

          2. Self Employed*

            My county is working with businesses to provide mobile vaccination onsite–especially those where there were COVID outbreaks at work or they have an unusually high level of unvaccinated employees.

    3. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      Right. It’s honestly similar to the parent/child-free divide. I don’t have kids and don’t plan to, therefore, I’m not entitled to maternity leave; but at least I have the good sense to not demand or complain about other people having a benefit for their choice.

      1. sofar*

        Same. If I don’t do the thing the benefit is designed for, I don’t get the benefit. My company rewards people for doing certain types of fitness stuff. Martial arts training (which I do) is NOT eligible. It’s annoying, yes, but I roll my eyes and move on.

      2. NotAnotherManager!*

        I worked with a woman who unfortunately lacked that good sense, once. She was child-free and railed against parental leave and how discriminatory it was and that she should be offered the same amount of leave for her “responsible choice not to be a breeder” (her words, *not mine*). Guess who used parental leave when she had a baby a few years later? And then decreed it irresponsible to have more than one child and that parental leave should be limited to first kid only? Definitely one of those no-one-else-should-get-what-I-don’t types.

        I don’t use my company’s pet insurance, parking benefit, gym membership discount, or even their heath insurance, nor do I get anything back for declining them. I certainly don’t think their benefits package should be custom tailored to only my needs, and I struggle to identify with people that do (especially when it’s a perk for being vaccinated in a healthcare facility!).

    4. meyer lemon*

      I’m not surprised by this at all. To be honest, I think these incentives are only really going to work for people who are vaguely meaning to get vaccinated but haven’t gotten around to it yet. To truly committed anti-vaxxers, financial incentives are just further proof that their employer is trying to coerce them into a nefarious plot. Once you’ve bought into a con that feeds your fears and makes you feel like you’re on the side of righteousness, it’s a disturbingly difficult mental trap to extract yourself from.

      1. Red-handed Jill*

        But at this point, that’s probably one of the groups that needs to get incentives, in addition to focusing on ensuring folks in underserved and rural areas get more equitable access. It would work better than trying to debate anti-vaxxers into oblivion.

        1. meyer lemon*

          Oh, I certainly think it’s still worth trying. But I would go into it expecting this kind of resistance from the hard core anti-vaxxers, and tempering my expectations about how far reasoned debate will work with them.

        2. anonymath*

          Agree to some extent (in that debate is approximately useless) but meyer lemon is right that any incentive or punitive measure is just proof to many of these folks that they are being coerced into something evil by a government or quasi-government cabal that does not have their best interests at heart.

      2. Oxford Comma*

        I think public health officials have written off anti-vaxxers. They’re going after the vaccine hesitant.

      3. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

        I think some of it is also to maybe give people who might have to take unpaid time off from work to go get the vaccine some sort of help. There are plenty of workers who would like go get vaccinated if available, but it’ll cost them a days pay and they can’t afford that.

        1. MarsJenkar*

          Makes me thankful my company had already set aside a special bank of sick leave for COVID-related absences. And yes, getting vaccinated was given as a valid use for this leave.

        2. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Except it’s the employer offering this $100. I’d love to see extra PTO to cover vaccination appointments & the vaccination reaction.

            1. Crystal*

              Mine too! We got a 1/2 day’s pay extra if we’re vaccinated, even if we didn’t take time off. I took an hour, charged it to sick time and then got 4 extra hours’ pay. Pretty good deal :)

          1. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

            $100 cash or [i]extra PTO[/i] is “same same but different but still same” though; either way they’re getting paid but one is a flat rate even if it takes an hour of time and they have no reaction, and one is variable according to how much time they MIGHT need.

      4. Not anti-vaxx*

        $100 is not enough money to incentivize me. I would need at least $100,000 to consider it. Not everyone can be bought.

        1. Snark*

          Well, you’re not willing to be convinced, either, so at some point, this is a you problem.

          1. Not anti-vaxx*

            Where did I say I wasn’t convinced? I said I wasn’t ready yet. I take responsibility for my decision and am fine wearing a mask until such time I get vaccinated. I recognize the privilege I have to be able to say that $100 is not monetarily significant to me; and not everyone is motivated by money. :shrug:

            1. Student Affairs Sally*

              So if you’re convinced, why are you not ready yet? What exactly is giving you pause?

            2. anonymath*

              This is a good example of the discourse (for other readers). Taking an incentive is painted as a moral failing (“not everyone can be bought”) and a rhetorical line is drawn between “us” and “them”, where “they” are not privileged/ not lucky, motivated by money, and willing to sell out their principles, unlike the poster.

              It’s no longer a question of science, it’s a question of morals/righteousness. Those discussions are very polarizing, in general, and not resolved by reason.

              1. Sleeping Late Every Day*

                It’s the typical right-wing anti-science style of confrontation; combining belligerence with a faux air of innocence. It’s similar to how an 8-year-old tries to argue with adults.

        2. IANYL*

          The “not antivaxx” moniker gets less and less plausible the further I scroll down in the comments

        3. Calliope*

          The goal was never to incentivize people to 100%; it’s to incentivize enough people to get a meaningfully higher percentage vaccinated. (And you are clearly an anti-vaxxer even if you’ve gotten SOME vaccines, come on.)

          Also, you can be bought, apparently; you’re just quibbling over price.

        4. Artemesia*

          I don’t have to be bought because I believe this is social obligation — I have some obligation to people other than myself. A confusing concept to many Americans.

        5. Leenie*

          Per your own comment, you can be bought. It would just take more money. It’s hard to buy the self righteous routine while you’re naming a price.

        6. Bagpuss*

          If you’re saying that $100,000 would make you consider it, you’re saying you *can* be bought, you just want to haggle on the price?

    5. Dr. Doll*

      Off topic, but Snark, welcome back!! I have missed your particular brand of smart, humorous commenting!

    6. anonie*

      As someone who isn’t getting it due to drug allergies and previous vaccine reactions, I’m disheartened to see people make these kind of assumptions around people who can’t/won’t get vaccinated.

      1. Pippa K*

        It’s exactly the difference between can’t and won’t that is important here and most people are making careful distinctions about it.

        1. Here we go again*

          I fall into a grey area between can’t and won’t. Should I loose my job because of genetics and risks I’m not willing to take?

          1. A*

            Well if your medical team is advising against it, then it’s not a grey area – it’s for medical reasons. If your medical team has cleared you to get it, but you are personally deciding that the risks aren’t worth it to you – then yes, you would be responsible for taking accountability for that choice and whatever the consequences might be.

            Perhaps I’m misunderstanding your point, but it doesn’t seem like a grey area.

            1. Here we go again*

              I haven’t been to a doctor in a year because I lost my health insurance twice when I lost my job twice. And haven’t had a reason to go to the doctor because I’ve been healthy, who’d go to the doctor right now when it’s unnecessary?
              I just got my health insurance back but my primary care physician that’s familiar with my condition left the state. So I’m looking for a new doctor.

      2. Merci Dee*

        It seems that most people in the comments are pretty understanding about people who have medical reasons not to get vaccinated, which is what it sounds like you’re describing. Medical/religious exemptions have long been accepted reasons for choosing not to vaccinate.

      3. NotAnotherManager!*

        My MIL cannot get it due to allergies either, and a close family member was borderline and closely monitored after receiving it. I make no assumptions about people who *can’t* be vaccinated, but people who *won’t* are putting the lives of the *can’ts* at unnecessary risk.

        I’m not really doing that much assuming about people that *won’t* either – they’re not exactly quiet about their reasons, especially on anonymous internet comment sites.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          I have one of those allergies that in early studies seemed to be linked to some of the adverse reactions – I had to stay longer for additional monitoring after my jabs, but still got them.

          Personally, I believe that it’s important for all of us who can be vaccinated to do so – herd immunity is meant to protect the minority that for medical reasons are unable to get vaccinated. You choose not to for any variety of personal reasons unrelated to medically unable, don’t get upset at any additional restrictions (like masks and quarantines) that you have to comply with as a result of your choices.

    7. Hummer on the Hill*

      Frankly, I’m appalled that someone working at a healthcare clinic would balk at getting a FREE vaccine. It costs nothing, just some of your time. It’s the only bit of medical care in America that you don’t have to pay for! AND, if I were a patient at a clinic, I would EXPECT that everyone working there was vaccinated. How hideous to think that I could be treated by someone who could be a carrier for a potentially deadly disease. Guess I’d better start asking the next time I visit one. And, as I taught my daughters long ago: “Life isn’t fair.”

      1. LCH*

        i had blood taken after the vaccine was starting to be given to healthcare workers. i asked the tech if the clinic workers had all been able to get the shot yet, just curious how rollout was going from someone on the front lines. she said they had been given the option, but she didn’t have plans to get it. it was so annoying at the time because i couldn’t wait to get it.

        1. Sleeping Late Every Day*

          It would be interesting to see the reaction from that facility if someone would insist on having a vaccinated worker do the blood draw. Maybe the public needs to make it difficult for places that are too wobbly on basic health standards.

    8. lilsheba*

      Yup I have no sympathy in this. Just get the vaccine….even people I know who didn’t think they could get a vaccine before due to reactions are able to get them so it’s possible. You want the bonus, go do what is required.

    9. Artemesia*

      I think they should fire those who refuse to be vaccinated (genuine medical risk issues of course taken into consideration.). The utter gall of plague rats willling to put others at risk in a health care setting and then on top of that whine because they are not getting $100 to do so is shocking. There are people, particularly in a health care setting, whose immune systems don’t respond adequately to vaccination — those same people are at great risk of dying if they get the disease. These people are not important to employees who are fine with putting others at risk for no reason but being oppositional.

      1. Guacamole Bob*

        Yes, the only indoor places my father has been outside the house since March 2020 are medical settings. He is vaccinated but has a condition like you describe, and the antibody testing his oncologist ordered showed his immune system didn’t generate any antibodies in response to the vaccine so he isn’t protected. And the condition that causes that vaccine failure also has a 40% mortality rate from covid.

        Fortunately the overall vaccination rate in his area is very high and case rates have plummeted. But it’s absolutely infuriating when medical staff choose not to get vaccinated and increase his risk from medical visits he absolutely can’t avoid.

    10. LTL*

      I don’t think they’re entitled, I think they just believe that NO ONE should get a bonus if they don’t get one.

      The fact that they get $0 whether or not this incentive goes into effect seems to go over their heads.

      1. Idril Celebrindal*

        But… isn’t that the definition of entitled? Believing that they should get something they didn’t earn just because other people who are not them are getting it?

    11. The Price is Wrong Bob*

      This. The company is just adding an optional incentive for those that want it. If it’s a deeply held belief or whatever the zealots like to say, they should be happy to have a chance to prove their devotion to their deity.

    12. Wisteria*

      people with no plans to get vaccinated think they’re entitled to a $100 bonus

      Where are you getting that from? The letter says “negative feedback,” but doesn’t specify what the negative feedback is.

    13. TCS1386*

      As someone who is vaccinated, followed all protocols (and still is) and made multiple really emotional personal sacrifices (including deaths of close family members) during the last year and a half I’d ask that you be a bit more thoughtful in your language. I staunchly support vaccination and I feel comfortable with that stance as a white person who has a positive relationship with the medical field, both individually and intergenerationally.

      I don’t mean to sound as though I’m disagreeing with your main point, as I assume you’re primarily referencing the anti-vax, anti-mask, flat-earther “patriots”. I just wanted to acknowledge there are groups of people who have very very valid reasons to be suspicious of authority and the medical community. In my workplace we were able to partner with some local Black physician groups who provided several weeks of town hall presentations and Q&A sessions open (and optional) to any interested staff as a way to provide additional consideration around the issue.

      1. pancakes*

        All of this is true, but Pew Research found that the demographic least likely to get vaccinated is white evangelicals.

    14. Stuckinacrazyjob*

      The anti vaxxers at my job were like ” the vaccine must be bad because they want to pay people money to get it” I’m like the wrong person dies and the PR hit will be much worse than just paying us. ( shakes head)

      1. pancakes*

        By that same logic the armed forces must be terrible to serve in because people get bonuses for enlisting and re-upping.

    15. Anonymouse*

      I work in state government, and we can get a $100 bonus if we show proof of vaccination to HR. On our union FB page, there was a deal of “We had to WORK during a PANDEMIC and we get nothing if we don’t take the vaccine?!!!1!”

      Yes. The answer is yes.

    16. Wenike*

      Something to point out too, these are clinical people who at the beginning of the pandemic would have been begged to help out in the hospital (not necessarily on a COVID ward, but to cover for those who are going to be on a COVID ward) and provided incentives at that point to help out, regardless if they normally worked non-acute care instead. I know of nurses who came out of retirement to help. I know of directors of nursing (who are about a c-suite equivalent in that particular hospital) who worked on the floor instead of their normal work- one actually was administering the vaccine in a hospital near me. I even know of nurse practitioners that also helped out as nurses because those were more needed than their jobs as NPs.

      That healthcare system probably had some newsletter set up talking about the issues that they were dealing with, especially staffing levels and changing rules. They even would have likely been able to get the vaccine with minimal effort at their workplace if they so wanted, as long ago as December.

      It boggles my mind how someone can have that much information about the effects of COVID and the gargantuan effort that most hospitals went through to both adjust for lockdown (and all their administrative/IT people working remotely) while dealing with the huge influx of patients and yet still not want to get a vaccine, if it isn’t for a medical/religious reason.

    17. Kahunabob*

      It’s still weird to me that people want/need an incentive to get vaccinated. If not to help yourselves, then at least to reduce the risk for your dependents? Then again, I’m Dutch, maybe it’s an American culture thing? At least, I’m not aware of another western country offering incentives like this the way the US is.

  2. Van Wilder*

    Entitlement, thy name is “I don’t want to get a vaccine that might help save my patients’ lives but I also don’t want my coworkers to receive $100 that I had never expected to receive anyway.”

    1. Xenia*

      Wow—I didn’t even notice that this was a healthcare workplace! That makes the complaints extra specially absurd.

    2. GreenDoor*

      Yep. I read this and thought it sounds exaclty like “Those immigrants keep coming here and stealing all our jobs (that we never applied for and wouldn’t be caught dead doing in the first place).”

      Personally I’m surprised that COVID vaccines aren’t required for healthcare workers. My mom is a nurse and is required to have regular booster shots – and a flu shot. It’s nuts that flu shots are mandated as an employment requirement but a COVID shot isn’t. Maybe the OP’s spouse should explore this idea with the higher ups. It would negate the whole need for incentivizing it.

      1. TPS reporter*

        I’m in healthcare. we’re not requiring it yet but will when the FDA fully approves. Let’s hope that is soon!

      2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Healthcare adjacent (think insurance claims/billing/filing in the back office), and the system that I work for hasn’t required it yet because it’s still just a EUA. All indications are that it will be required (medically unable exceptions granted of course) when it has a full approval from the FDA.

        Even under the EUA only we have had 89% of the staff get fully vaccinated.

      3. J.B.*

        A group of employees at Methodist hospital in Houston is suing over the hospital’s vaccination requirement. The lawsuit included outright errors.

      4. Sleeping after sunrise*

        It only works to make something compulsory if you can still operate without all those staff.

        A non-health related “certificate” was due to become compulsory in my industry a couple of years ago. People just … didn’t do it … They extended the deadline, repeatedly.

        I think they’ve now decided that enough people got their piece of paper that they can sack anyone without it and not collapse. Had they followed through on their initial threat – well to be honest it would have been fun to watch the system collapse (if nobody was physically hurt as a result).

        Workplaces cannot make the vaccine compulsory until they have enough staff vaccinated that sacking everyone else doesn’t cause collapse. They also have to slow enough time for people to go … fine I’ll go get it then … (which is months depending on which vaccine is available for you).

        I agree that vaccination is super important and we should aim to have near 100% vaccination rates (there will always be medical reasons not to for some). But we need to be sensible moving from encouraged and incentivised to forced.

    3. Pants*

      Wonder if one of them is a man who is angry he’s not allowed to participate in the Leadership for Women initiative?

  3. Heidi*

    I’m not sure what the negative feedback is even about. It’s not like the employer is taking anything away from them. They’re still getting paid their regular salary and benefits, aren’t they?

      1. PollyQ*

        Apparently, some people never outgrow the classic sibling complaint, It’s not faiiiiiir!!!.

        1. The New Wanderer*

          And worse, sometimes this argument wins – see all the posts about workplaces not allowing some people to work from home because it’s not faiiiiir!!1! to those who can’t.

          But come on, this isn’t like applying a fine to people who can safely do so but refuse to get the vaccination. Whining is what happens when there isn’t a legitimate complaint.

          1. Bucky Barnes*

            If you’re talking about the occasional posts on this site, that’s not what those are about.

            1. Lalaroo*

              No, they’re not talking about the recent issue from the pandemic, they’re talking about the really really common pre-pandemic issue of workplaces refusing to let anyone work from home because not everyone could work from home. And that is what those posts are about.

        2. ManageCle*

          That complaint doesn’t even make any sense, juvenile or not. They have the same opportunity to access the $100 that everyone else does; they are simply choosing not to.

        3. AnonPi*

          To which my favorite come back is “Life isn’t fair. It’s just fairer than death.”

          1. TinLizi*

            Or as the Goblin King said to the cry of “that’s not fair!”
            “You say that so often, I wonder what you use as a basis of comparison.”

    1. The Original K.*

      Right! I was at a doctor’s appointment yesterday and the nurses and I were joking that we were mad that our state isn’t doing those $1M lotteries (I think that’s in Ohio?) for vaccination, but … we were joking. It’s not like they took away $1M from us and there are plenty of ways to enter other lotteries if we feel like we want a shot at winning $1M.

      1. Mrs Nesbitt*

        I’m just mad that it’s been two weeks and I haven’t won yet. ;)

        And yes, it’s Ohio.

          1. MissFinance*

            I medically can’t get vaccinated and I’m still mad about not being qualified to win $40k, lol.

            1. many bells down*

              Yeah honestly, there’s a difference between “nice dinner out” money and “down payment on a house” money. I’d be irked too about not being able to qualify for the latter!

        1. Artemesia*

          It works as an incentive because the kind of people who don’t get vaccinated are an overlapping group with those who can’t do the math of risk calculation or lottery chances.

      2. SomebodyElse*

        That’s not quite true. That money had to come from somewhere, IIRC it was taxpayer covid relief funds. So not only was it taxpayer funded, but it also came out of the pool that could have gone to resources that would have helped others.

        Now is this an effective program or a good use of funds? That’s an entirely different discussion. But saying the money just magically appeared is disingenuous.

        The same could be said for this $100 vaccine bonus, where did this money come from? Is it from the budget for office supplies, employee perks, or compensation (regular bonus/merit raise)? Don’t know from the letter and it could very well be coming from the CEO’s personal bank account. But I’m not sure you can safely say that it wasn’t taken from all employees somehow.

        Again… is it a good idea and will ultimately benefit the workers somehow… who knows it very well might.

        1. finance person*

          I do corporate budgets and planning for a living. When you have a large enough budget, something like $100/person for a one time thing isn’t going to bust the budget, companies always have some kind of contingency funds for the unexpected. It’s highly unlikely to directly come out of some other budget. The company has certainly done an analysis determining that the benefits of incentivizing employees outweigh the costs. COVID outbreaks among patients, increased absenteeism due to COVID quarantines, etc. are costly – probably much more so than $100/employee.

          1. SomebodyElse*

            Oh for sure that analysis has probably happened. And I know large orgs have budget for this kind of thing… but the point I was making was to challenge the thought that the money wasn’t ‘taken from others’ … That’s just a very simplistic approach to take in this situation. Because there is always opportunity cost for that money.

            Small organizations also often don’t have the luxury of those contingency funds (especially on the heels of a challenging year), so now, what does the small company do, when their employees start holding out for incentives that they are hearing others at large companies are getting. How’s that going to work out? “Alrighty, we can give everyone $100 who gets a vaccine, but no new office chairs this year” That’s going to go well for the guy who can’t get a vaccine and now doesn’t get a new chair.

            (Yes that too was an overly simplified example)

            1. Calliope*

              You think small organizations are going to lose staff because they can’t offer a $100 vaccine incentive? WTF. I guess nobody should ever give anyone a pay raise because then their employees might hold out for the pay that big companies get.

          2. Charlotte Lucas*

            I assume it’s similar to those programs that give you an incentive for meeting certain health goals. I’d say $100 to help prevent an employee from potentially catching a deadly disease is a bargain!

        2. Seeking Second Childhood*

          I’ll take vaccine incentives over yet another corporate-logo thing I didn’t ask for (in men’s cut & size only).

          1. D3*

            YES!
            I hate that my company tries to turn me into a walking billboard. And I hate that everything is men’s cut (Or “unisex” which is just men’s cut with a thinner neck band and under another name!)
            Sorry, I don’t feel appreciated when you send me ANOTHER logo tee shirt. I already have a dozen. And a windbreaker. And a fleece vest. And three hats and even a pair of SOCKS.

            1. Liz T*

              I too hate it when people call men’s sizes “unisex.” Interesting that “unisex” is in every way identical to “men’s!”

        3. IANYL*

          Disagree and disagree. With the national debt a quarter of the way to a quadrillion dollars, let’s stop pretending that there’s any real correlation between government funded programs and taxes…

          As for the $100 incentive somehow coming from the employees- a few thousand in incentive is much less than the cost of one employee going out with Covid- never mind multiple employees.

          1. SomebodyElse*

            “Disagree and disagree. With the national debt a quarter of the way to a quadrillion dollars, let’s stop pretending that there’s any real correlation between government funded programs and taxes…”

            At best we’ll all be paying back these ‘lottery funds’ for generations to come.

            At worst it’s a shell game for the states doing this… They get ‘free’ money to offer as a lottery incentive from money that was specific to Covid relief… Hey dontcha know that money will probably come with a nice hefty tax bill… Oh goody now we have all this extra tax revenue that can go into our general fund to be spent on non Covid stuff.

            Seems to me like there’s a shell game going on.

            “As for the $100 incentive somehow coming from the employees- a few thousand in incentive is much less than the cost of one employee going out with Covid- never mind multiple employees.”

            Again missing the point that I was making… it doesn’t matter if it’s a good or effective idea. The point is you can’t say it’s not being taken from other employees, because it is.

            1. Calliope*

              You don’t really understand how either governments or businesses work. Business profits hinge on a variety of things including how many customers/clients they can attract – if encouraging vaccinations enables smooth operations (more people willing to come in, for instance) or avoids negative publicity (people contracting covid at your workplace), it could actually save them way more money than it costs them. Probably it’ll more or less be a wash that nobody ever notices; maybe whoever owns the business will make $1,000 less this year and stash a little less in their retirement fund.

              1. Boof*

                regardless of the politics of any particular spending policy, it is true the more you spend the more in debt you are or the more you have to gather. I do think US needs to stop kicking the deficit can down the line – though there are a lot of ways to do that. They do involve less spending overall though, obviously.

                1. Calliope*

                  Regardless of that, these lotteries are being offered by states, not the federal government.

                2. Calliope*

                  (And you can say “but that was Covid tax relief money” but the federal government had already given it to them – it’s not contingent on being used on a lottery and would otherwise go back to the general fund to reduce the national debt.)

            2. Green great dragon*

              I think it was your turn to miss the point here – if it costs less to offer an incentive than they would lose from staff going off with covid, the business doesn’t have to find any extra money overall – it’s up on the deal.

        4. OyHiOh*

          In my state, the part of the money that’s being used for the shot at a million bucks drawings comes from CARES Act money that was otherwise marked for advertising and marketing. In announcing the drawings, our governor said he felt this 5 million (there’s a scholarship drawing for under-18’s as well as the drawing for adults) would be better served going directly to people rather than even more marketing and advertising than they’re already doing. In most situations, CARES money has to be spent by the end of 2021 and I’m willing to bet they ran the numbers and discovered this would be money left over at the end of the year, so why not give it away.

        5. theletter*

          I would imagine most corporations had money left over in company ’employee morale and fun’ budget from last year. I know my company had no holiday party, no summer boat party (twice), a minimal amount of catered lunches, no conference tickets, no international sales trips, no departmental restaurant outings, no friday bagels or breakfast burritos, no afternoon meat-n-greats, no anniversary sheet cakes, and no happy hours.

          In my estimation, $100 to each employee is probably petty cash at this point.

      3. dePizan*

        California, Oregon and Illinois are doing at least a $1M lottery, and then several other states are doing 4 year full ride scholarships or some smaller prizes (Arkansas, Minnesota, Delaware, New York, Maryland, West Virginia).

        1. The Dude Abides*

          Nitpick – Illinois isn’t there yet, but the funds for one were included in the budget proposals being voted on.

      4. crookedfinger*

        Oregon is doing the lottery, too. There are a lot of anti-vaxxers and anti-anything-liberals-support here who refuse to do anything that might help others, so here come the financial incentives!

      5. Mallory Janis Ian*

        I’m a little irritated that my state’s incentive is a fishing or hunting license renewal, and other states are getting just a straight-up gift card that isn’t about hunting or fishing. But I don’t care enough to whine about it.

      6. Tryinghard*

        I listen to people complain they can’t get the incentives from our state because they already got their shot. They want to retroactively be paid / entered in the contests instead of being happy they already got their shot.

        1. Artemesia*

          For me the big payoff was not dying — I am very old and am in the age group with a pretty good chance of suffering and death if I get the disease. At my age death is not so scary but suffering — a big ‘no’. I figure my odds of not suffering were very good; odds on a lottery, pretty slim.

        2. A*

          Ya, this irks me as well. I got vaccinated before any of the incentive programs, but I’m glad they exist – I just want as many people as possible to be protected! Only scenario I would be frustrated by is if the state, or my employer, was handing out potentially life changing sums of money to EVERYONE that got vaccinated since the incentives became available. But $100? Or a 1 in a however-many-million chance at a large payout lottery style? Not an issue. Whatever it takes!

          Seems to me like the vaccine equivalent of being penny wise, dollar foolish.

      7. Can't Sit Still*

        California* has a lottery in June and any resident over the age of 12 who has received at least 1 vaccine is eligible for either $50k or $1.5MM, plus they are giving out $50 gift cards to the next 2 million people to be vaccinated.

        *California has a huge budget surplus, so this is not breaking anybody’s bank, and $116MM spent on vaccine incentives is much, much cheaper than dozens of under and uninsured Californians in the ICU with Covid.

      8. OyHiOh*

        I’m in a state that’s doing 4 weekly million dollar drawings. I’m more than two weeks past my second shot. When they anounced the drawings, I did visit the state immunization system page to verify that my info was entered but otherwise don’t really feel like I’ve got a shot at winning a prize. I never win anything! If a shot at a million bucks gets hesitant or “just hadn’t gotten around to it” people to go get vaccinated, I’m all for it

      9. MJ*

        We have a property developer here who is holding a lucky draw for vaccinated residents – the prize, an apartment (small one) worth US$1.4 million (all legal bills, etc. paid for). In a city where property is at crazy level prices, it’s prompted some reluctant people to get vaccinated. Hey, if it motivates them to get vaccinated, great! One person wins an apartment but everyone wins when another person is vaccinated.

      10. Astral Debris*

        Your comment made me realize what 2021 is missing: a pro-vaccine promo ad featuring the original Hamilton cast singing a revised version of “My Shot.”

        Anybody have Lin-Manuel’s number?

    2. BRR*

      It’s not hard to see the reason why they are complaining, they’re just wrong about their reasons. They are probably framing it as some combination of an employer being invasive into their medical decisions and the good ole other people are getting a benefit and I want it too (even though they can easily fix that). But this isn’t the same as an invasive employer wellness program and it’s completely reasonable for a *healthcare system* to want its employees vaccinated (and I imagine requiring it will be common in the near future).

      1. Julia*

        Yeah, exactly. Imagine if your employer were trying to coerce employees into a dangerous and ineffective medical procedure by providing a financial incentive. You’d complain about the invasion of privacy, right? That’s why they are complaining; it’s not hard to understand. The only thing is they are wrong about the vaccine being dangerous and ineffective. If you believe the nonsense they believe, their actions make sense.

        1. Yorick*

          They’re not complaining about the invasiveness. They’re complaining because other people are getting $100 and they want it too, but they’re not eligible.

          1. MassMatt*

            The letter is not clear on why the non-vaxxed people are disgruntled. It might be because they want that $ too. It might be because they don’t think this is any of their employer’s business (they are wrong, especially for a health-care business) or they are mistaking incentives (carrots) with penalties (sticks). Personally I think more stick is called for but in this political climate (“my freedom!!!”) it seems it’s not going to happen.

            That we actually have people writing advice columnists asking if vaccination incentives are even legal just shows how warped the whole issue has become by idiotic demagoguery.

            1. Artemesia*

              They ought to be fired. The people in nursing homes died because they were infected by health care workers. Often they worked second jobs or were living in communities with high infection rates and they carried it to work where several hundred thousand elderly died as a result. Health care workers should be required to be vaccinated against any communicable diseases including COVID and Flu.

            2. MissDisplaced*

              Oh I think it is VERY obvious why.
              They’re making vaccines political (as they did with masks) and choosing to believe a false narrative and conspiracies.

        2. TWW*

          Good point. If my employer was giving $100 to anyone who took a dose of hydroxychloroquine, I’m not sure how I would feel about that.

          I would feel even more conflicted if I were a low-wage employee who really needed the money.

          1. Autumnheart*

            The difference is that HCQ is not a COVID treatment and in fact is harmful to people who take it when they don’t suffer specific conditions. (HCQ is typically used to treat lupus, for example.) These are not equivalent scenarios. One is factually proven to be beneficial, and the other is a fake cure based on misinformation and propaganda. It’s not up to the individual to decide which is which. Facts are real.

            1. TWW*

              That’s my point. HCQ is ineffective and dangerous, so an employer offering a cash incentive to take it would clearly be in the wrong. That being said, if I was desperate for the money, I’d take it despite the risk.

              I posed that hypothetical as a way of understanding the anti-vaxxers objection. If someone believes the vaccine is dangerous, of course they’ll be upset if their employer tries to coerce them into taking it.

              1. IANYL*

                The problem with your hypo is that you’re starting from the premise that anti-vaxxer opinions are remotely reasonable or deserve to be respected.

                1. Calliope*

                  Right, workplaces should not accommodate misinformation when it comes to public health, particularly not health care agencies!

                2. Boof*

                  yes, just like one can believe a person [of some protected class/characteristic] is inferior [for reasons, including even religious reasons] but doesn’t mean those beliefs should be accommodated or catered to; quite the opposite.

                3. Julia*

                  I don’t think TWW is starting from that premise.

                  I think it’s important to try to understand people’s perspectives, even when they are misguided and their opinions don’t deserve any weight.

          2. Simply the best*

            I wouldn’t complain that it’s unfair I don’t get $100. I would complain that my employer is stupid.

      2. Artemesia*

        George Washington vaccinated his troops at Valley Forge for smallpox. This was at a time when smallpox ravaged communities repeatedly but also a time when the vaccine itself had a very high death rate. It was very risky to get vaccinated — but they did it anyway because an army with smallpox isn’t going to win.

        1. Boof*

          I think the varicolation is not the best best example; for example, i would have a much harder time as a parent actively doing something to my child I knew had a 3% fatality rate even if I knew it prevented a disease (accidentally / passively acquired, and potentially avoidable) with a 20% death rate. That’s a pretty different calculus than less than 1 in a million serious complication rate.

    3. Murphy*

      Right?

      “I don’t want to get the vaccine”
      “OK, so…don’t?”

      They’re lucky their employer isn’t requiring it at work, in a health care system (!!!)

      1. Pants*

        A bunch of people who chose not to get the vaccine and lost their jobs are suing the hospital they worked for that required the vaccine for all employees since, you know, they’re treating sick people. There were exemptions for qualified cases, so these people suing just threw their suckers in the dirt and are whining “Not fair!!” I hope they lose and have to pay all court costs for both sides.

        1. Siege*

          I have to admit, I misread suckers at first and was visualizing a group of anti-vaxx octopuses slapping their tentacles in the dirt.

          1. A*

            Not an entirely inaccurate representation :P

            (sorry, that was mean – but I couldn’t help myself)

      2. PT*

        Health care systems do have people who are back office and never interact with patients. If it’s a big enough hospital system, they might even have their own admin building or campus and never even see the patient-facing employees except for their first and last days of work.

        1. Tired of Covid-and People*

          But they interact in cafeterias and such with other employees who do see patients.

    4. SINE*

      Some people just plain suck. In one of my jobs, there was a raffle where one of the prizes was a PlayStation. The winner complained it wasn’t an XBox.

    5. MissDisplaced*

      They’re jealous and think they’re also entitled to the $100 in the name of “fairness,” and probably also that they’re being singled out or discriminated against because they’re not eligible for the money too. I say they can Go Pound Sand!

      My company offers. $300 discount on health insurance if you get a yearly wellness checkup. You are in no way required to do so, and you can even go to your own doctor or independent lab. I view the vaccine bonus as a similar incentive.

  4. greenwalker*

    The biggest employer in my (large) city is a health system that makes being a non-smoker a condition of employment, so….

    1. Snark*

      And there’s no reason vaccine status can’t be treated the same way – or as a condition for enrolling one’s children in schools receiving public funding, collecting benefits, accepting subsidized loans, and so on.

      If they’re whining about the carrot, it’ll be interesting if there’s ever a stick.

    2. Calliope*

      And interestingly, I DO have a problem with that and zero problem with the vaccine requirements.

  5. RabbitRabbit*

    I work for a large hospital where we get a $500/year deduction on health insurance if we don’t smoke, or if a smoker starts a smoking cessation program at the start of one year and completes it by the next year. (It’s an automatic deduction, prorated for term length, when you are hired but the requirement kicks in at the start of the next benefit choice period.) And yes, you are blood tested for nicotine product usage.

    If their institution has similar incentives around health/wellness, the LW’s wife could bring those up as comparisons.

    My hospital crossed the 80% vaccinated threshold over a month ago, so I’m unsure we’ll get any bonuses like that – but it would be nice! We were still required, even last year (and even if you were solely WFH) to get the flu vaccine or have a solid medical exemption, so I expect eventually we’ll transition to requiring COVID vaccines as well.

    1. sacados*

      That’s a really good point– since the bigger part of LW’s question is about tips for handling the messaging.
      Those kind of comparisons to things the employees are probably so used to that they don’t even think about it anymore could be very helpful.

    2. tink*

      We have a “wellness” incentive tied to getting a yearly physical and doing a health assessment, but it’s only collectable if you use our workplace insurance (which I don’t, because my partner’s insurance is better and doesn’t change every 2 years). Does not having access to that incentive suck? Yes. (It’s $500, which is just under half a month’s pay for me.) Am I going to throw a fit and get it taken away from everyone else? Hell no. (Though I have considered asking if there’s an alternative for folks on other insurance for whatever reason.)

      1. A Little Bit Alexis*

        You should ask! I work in the corporate wellness space and often employers will offer a different incentive for employees not enrolled in the medical plan. It’s often not the same actual dollar amount, but everyone loves a gift card/additional compensation/other perk. If they don’t offer it now you could definitely bring it up as a an option for future years.

  6. Murphy*

    Wouldn’t be surprised if these same employees complained about disclosing their vaccine status being a HIPPA violation.

    1. D3*

      Oh they will. I like how you mispelled HIPAA just like they do, which claiming to know SO MUCH about how it (doesn’t) protect them. Nice touch!

        1. Julia*

          I love that account. I would follow it, but the misspelling of HIPAA bothers me too much when I see it on my feed! I am a weirdo.

    2. Savannah*

      Our large healthcare system just announced everyone needs to be vaccinated by Sept or file for medical or religious exception and people are loooosing their damn minds. I’ve seen everything from ‘HIPPA’ to “my rights as an American blah blah’ to ‘gene manipulation by the state will not stand’. These are comments left in our intranet comment pages which means they are not anonymous and its a…thing.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Literally everything you typed here applies to my workplace as well, including the comment quotes, so if you’re one of my 30,000+ coworkers, solidarity, and I’ve been snarling at my boss (in solidarity; they agree with me) all day about how disgusting the comments on the team portal page are.

      2. InsufficientlySubordinate*

        So, health professionals think it’s …gene manipulation. Didn’t listen well in their classes sounds like.

    3. NotRealAnonForThis*

      I’m betting on it.

      I’m also betting on the majority of them who are complaining about the incentive (and disclosure of vaccine status) are also the same who claim “I have a medical reason to not wear a mask and you can’t ask me about it because of HIPPA”.

    4. The New Normal*

      My husband is dealing with this right now. He and one other person are the only ones in cubicles… but the other person refuses to vaccinate, so he will have to wear a mask all day because of her. He is literally the only person in his entire company who will have to wear a mask all day (besides the non-vaxxer, who is likely to not wear a mask). And his boss refuses to ask for cubicle-mate’s vaccination status because they think it’s a violation. I sent him this information so he can push a bit.

  7. kittymommy*

    Perfect timing. I was just talking to a friend who was wondering about this. I told her I was 99.999% sure her boss could require it (they didn’t realize that) and here’s the back-up they needed.

    1. Miami forever*

      I know here in FL you cannot be required to show poof of vaccination so it might be state dependent.

  8. D3*

    Just *^&$^%#*&^ vaccinate already if you want the $100. If you don’t, shut up and wear a mask.

    1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      It doesn’t have to be or. We’ll be perfectly happy if the Anti-Vax did it all and got vaccinated, got the bonus, shut up, and put the mask back on. Reasonable people can be flexible and accommodating that way!

  9. Sharrbe*

    I don’t understand how one can work in healthcare and not get a vaccine? Surely they got their childhood immunizations in order to go to school/higher education and have lived to tell.

    1. Waffle Cone*

      There is a surprisingly large population of healthcare workers who are a) vaccine hesitant or b) actively in denial about vaccines in general and COVID in particular. These people always find loopholes in the laws and exploit them, to the detriment of everyone around them. It’s depressing.

      1. squirrel zombie*

        Is it maybe because many healthcare workers already got covid and they feel that protects them (and don’t want to experience the admittedly unpleasant side-effects of the vaccination)? I’m aware that the CDC is recommending people who had covid before to still get the vaccine, but if you are in healthcare you might make your own decisions based on the literature, which isn’t all that clear on this point. (By the way I am vaccinated and in healthcare, for me the trade-off is a no-brainer).

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I had a few, but compared to potentially being on a ventilator, incurring an $80,000 hospital bill, or ya, know, possibly DYING, a sore arm and feeling like crap for a couple of days was a walk in the park.

            1. Cooper*

              I got hit like a truck for about 24 hours, and all I could think was that if this was the mild, temporary response to a de-fanged bit of the virus, I was real glad I wasn’t gonna have to deal with the actual thing!

              1. Hotdog not dog*

                I was down for the count for a whole week…from the first shot. Thankfully the second one just felt like a bad hangover for a day, but I’m still glad I did it. Attending a Zoom funeral early in the pandemic (for an otherwise healthy 40 year old) was a huge eye opener.

            2. Keymaster of Gozer*

              Yeah, I mean my rheumatoid arthritis went absolutely beserk for a week after my first shot so I literally couldn’t even get out of bed without my husband’s aid (he also dressed me, cleaned me…that man is an angel).

              I am still getting the second shot. I lost too many people to Covid, I don’t want my family to have any more grief.

          2. pandop*

            Neither did I. After my first dose I had a tender arm (ie don’t lie on that side to read in bed) like I get after my flu jab, and not even that after my second.

        1. Sweet Christmas*

          No…it’s because healthcare workers are humans with varying beliefs, and sometimes even knowing science doesn’t protect you from having biased or unsubstantiated beliefs.

          My mother was a labor and delivery nurse for a decade and she believed IUDs caused abortions. I had to explain to her how they worked.

        2. pancakes*

          Squirrel zombie, “the literature” on this is in fact quite clear on the protection offered by getting vaccinated vs. the potential protection offered by having had covid. From the CDC:

          “Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. Learn more about why getting vaccinated is a safer way to build protection than getting infected.”

          There is no shortage of additional information on this on the CDC website and other reputable sites.

      2. A*

        Ya, I can’t speak to the driver of this or if it’s accurately representative on a larger scale – but amongst all of my social groups (different states/socio economic & political demographics etc.) the ones that have had to deal with the most anti-vaxxers in their workplace BY FAR have all been nurses.

        Based on their explanation it sounds like a lot of it boils down to “I work in the health industry / went to school for this, and therefore understand science better than most, and therefore know not to trust it”… it blows my mind, and I genuinely don’t get it! My best friend is a nurse in an elderly care facility and had several coworkers that were COVID deniers…. even in the midst of ~80% of their patients testing positive and there being mass casualties in their work place…

        For the record, I’m happy to report every single one of my nurse friends is vaccinated and has been since the earliest opportunity to do so :)

    2. Bernice Clifton*

      I am by no means an anti-vaxxer, but healthcare systems employ a ton of people who aren’t in any type of provider role. Finance, marketing professionals, administrative assistants, cashiers, food service, human resources, IT, housekeeping, fundraising, security, social workers, etc. In some areas, a healthcare system might be the largest employer and are going to attract non-provider applicants who don’t necessarily have a passion for healthcare, they just want to pay their bills.

      1. RabbitRabbit*

        I’ll counter with noting you’d be surprised how many nurses are anti-vaxx. Sadly.

        1. Bernice Clifton*

          That is sad and frustrating. I definitely would question the judgement of a nurse being an anti-vaxxer over someone who works in the hospital laundry.

        2. twocents*

          Yep. I knew a former nurse who was actively anti-vaxx, like criticizing people who got flu shot and telling them they might as well eat a raw egg, it’s the same thing.

            1. allathian*

              Not anymore, because in some locations salmonella is so endemic on chicken farms. I’m in Finland, one of the few countries where salmonella isn’t endemic in eggs. So we can enjoy scooping out the remains of a cake dough out of the bowl safely.

        3. Susie Q*

          I know personally several NPs who are anti-vax and were mad at me for getting the vaccine while pregnant.

        4. Cassidy*

          Ding ding ding!

          A former high school classmate is one of these, which I’ve known for many years, and I STILL can’t wrap my mind around it. I mean, where does she think polio went? Just up and disappeared?

          1. RabbitRabbit*

            The excuse I usually hear is “better sanitation” but it’s just miraculous how sanitation only affected various diseases in waves, generally coinciding with the development of vaccines for each of those…

            1. Sweet Christmas*

              Besides, that doesn’t even make sense – the polio vaccine was developed and deployed in the 1950s. We’ve made improvements in sanitation since then, but I think most people who say this erroneously believe the polio vaccine was made during the time people threw slop in the streets and bathed once a week.

              1. UKDancer*

                Yes. Polio was horrible and within living memory, but people who haven’t seen it forget quickly. My mother’s cousin caught it and left her paralysed and needing to use a wheelchair. Nanny was petrified that Mum was going to get it and would have given anything for a vaccine but in the early 1950s vaccination hadn’t quite hit Northern England.

                By my childhood in the 1980s my mother made sure I was vaccinated against everything they had because she’d seen the consequences. You bet your boots I got my vaccination for Covid as soon as I was eligible.

            2. J.B.*

              Better sanitation is the difference for waterborne diseases. For diseases spread through the air and on surfaces, sanitation is an important element of infection control but won’t do a thing against the person in front of you shedding viruses.

        5. RussianInTexas*

          Oh yeah, the former friend is one of these, not only anti-vaxx, but also promoted MMS (Miracle Mineral Supplement) as a cure for COVID for a while, until some other friend (our paths diverged far and wide in 2016) got it through her that MMS regiment is basically bleach. You are drinking bleach.
          At least this happened before she tried to cure her kids with it.

        6. designbot*

          my MIL is a former nurse and while not anti-vaxx, she has a tendency to assume that 1) everyone is exaggerating their symptoms, and 2) they brought it on themselves. I have always figured it was a jaded point of view that represents an amalgamation of her worst patients.

        7. Working Hypothesis*

          I have stopped being surprised about almost anything I might find in any given hospital’s nursing staff. When my sister was in a medically induced coma while they tried to save her life (pre-Covid, a few years ago), her nurse tried to foist on us a book — privately printed by her religious denomination — about heaven and near-death experiences in order to persuade us to discontinue efforts to save her. The hospital was a state-run secular institution.

          We refused. I don’t have a problem with DNR orders if that’s what the patient wants, but my sister’s wishes were clear: she was not ready for that yet. We asked them to do everything they could.

          Two years later, my sister’s still with us and active and enjoying her life. I still shudder when I think what might have happened if we had been a little more easily pressured.

      2. Savannah*

        I wish this was the case. Our largest population of anti-vaxxers are all clinical.

      3. TPS reporter*

        I’m in the admin side of healthcare. When our employer mandated flu vaccines a few years ago for the entire workforce, the argument was that we non-patient facing people do often interact with the clinical staff and could thus infect them to infect a patient.

        1. designbot*

          As well as taking them out of the pool of available workers at a critical time!

      4. Artemesia*

        Anyone who works in an office is a risk to everyone else working in an office. No vaccine is 100% and some people have medical conditions that make them vulnerable regardless or family who do. They shouldn’t have to work with selfish plague rats.

      5. Aitch Arr*

        I worked for a large hospital system for almost 10 years.

        Even though my official office was not in a clinical setting (it was in an office building not on a hospital campus), I still had to go to the hospital(s) for meetings, to visit some of my employees who were on-site, etc., so mandating that I be vaccinated made sense. I didn’t interact with patients, but I interacted with those that did and in the same premises at times.

    3. dealing with dragons*

      a lot of people feel that it is experimental and hasn’t been tested enough, or that we as a population are being used as guinea pigs so they don’t feel safe. I can’t imagine they’ve looked at any of the science or gone out of youtube, but there you go.

      1. MarsJenkar*

        I still have some concerns regarding possible long-term consequences, because some of them won’t have had time to show up yet. Though the more time passes, the less likely it is that such problems exist.

        And it hasn’t stopped me from getting vaccinated, because I decided that the known consequences of catching COVID outweighed the potential (unknown) consequences of getting the vaccine.

        1. Sweet Christmas*

          Besides that, we also don’t know what the long-term consequences of COVID-19 are. But based on some of the medium-term consequences some people are having, they are likely to be far worse.

          Besides, we’ve been doing vaccines for literal decades and very few of the existing ones have any serious long-term consequences. I see no reason to believe why this one would be different.

      2. Tired of Covid-and People*

        Those millions upon millions of doses have been a big-ass test.

      3. goducks*

        Yet these same people when pressed for what would be an appropriate amount of testing cannot give a single answer because not only do they not know how much testing was done, they also don’t know how much testing is done on any other vaccine, so all they can go on is that this *feels* like not enough.

        So, not only do they think it hasn’t been tested enough, there’s literally no point in the future they can point to where they’ll feel that it’s appropriate to get vaccinated.

      4. MJ*

        The history of Western medicine is all about people being used as the proverbial guinea pig, from 8-year-old James Phipps to 43-year old Jennifer Haller. And that’s just for vaccinations.

  10. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    They wouldn’t complain about getting $100 for completing a 30-minute certification test, would they?

    (Well, some of them would. There are some people that will complain about anything and everything.)

  11. Momma Bear*

    There are multiple states doing a vaccinated people cash lottery – with sums much higher than $100. I wonder what these people would think if they lived in one of those states. The employer is not requiring them to get vaccinated. It is an option. They have the option to decline and thereby decline the $100 as well. I would see a slight difference if someone asked for consideration if they can’t (example, a coworker cited cancer treatment and their doctor’s advice to hold off for now), but if they are healthy and want to opt out? Their choice. Kind of like taking a toll road vs the long way around.

    I agree that the response should be short and not up for discussion. Don’t let them argue about it.

    1. OyHiOh*

      I live in one of the states doing lottery. People are shockingly unhappy about it. Reasons range from “how dare you give away tax payer money” (I mean, yes in grand scheme it is, but came out of federal block funding and the source and purpose have been clearly outlined if people would bother to read) to “how dare you bribe people into putting poison in their bodies” and absolutely every absurdist argument in between.

      1. Eliza*

        My take on the lottery thing is that it’s likely to be most effective at convincing people who don’t have a very good grasp of probability theory… who are probably also the people who most need to be convinced, so I guess it works out.

  12. Former Employee*

    Many health care providers already require their employees to get the flu vaccine. If the they choose not to do so, then they must wear a mask at work for the duration of the flu season.

    Honestly, given how much more serious Covid is than the flu, I would be tempted to push for firing people who refuse to be vaccinated.

    Why? Because this is a health care system. What message does it send that they have people who are working there who are unvaccinated by choice?

    1. OP*

      OP here. First off, thanks everyone (especially Alison) for your thoughts.

      This is essentially what my wife has been saying: “We are a science-based organization, and we are going to follow the science.”

      She is fully out of patience with this small minority, and they had a system-wide meeting recently where the senior leadership (Chief Medical Officer, Chief Legal Officer, etc.) talked about why they were doing what they’re doing and that they are totally within the bounds of the law. I obviously wasn’t there, but it sounds like the underlying message was essentially “if you don’t like it, there are other places to work.”

      1. Massive Dynamic*

        Many rounds of applause for your top leadership. Moral imperative aside, it’s also just bad business at this point to not have your health care staff vax up.

        Fun aside: a local restaurant is doing one of those “we fine you if you come in with a mask” moves and OHMY how quickly the facebook commentariat pointed out that those fines will definitely help them pay down their recent sanitation violations.

        1. NYL*

          I would be so tempted to throw a fit about how they were violating my ADA/HIPAA rights.

          I wouldn’t, because I don’t want to enforce anybody thinking that might be in any way valid, but it would be so tempting

      2. designbot*

        This is the way. And with that example, all your wife need do is echo that message.

  13. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

    Out of curiosity – I see that you specified that employers can require the vaccine “in order to enter the workplace.” Has there been any guidance on whether it can be required for remote staff who don’t come in to a workplace or come face to face with other employees or with customers/patients? I see that telework is suggested as a possible accommodation.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I haven’t seen guidance on that but my guess (and it’s just a guess) is no, since there’s no compelling business reason for it (like protecting others) if the person is fully remote.

      1. RabbitRabbit*

        For what it’s worth, the hospital I work for did require all employees (even remote) to get flu vaccinations last year and submit proof, or submit their medical exemption.

        1. Savannah*

          Same, the reporting bodies want a percentage of workforce data on vaccine compliance or TB testing etc. They are not going to differentiate who is at home full time and who is on site.

        2. Lance*

          Mine does as well; though granted, we were only remote part-time ’til March of last year, but I don’t expect the requirements to change.

        3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Yeah – my health care system requires flu shots for all employees, remote or on-site, and the newly issued policy specifies that covid vaccine policy will be the same, but I just noticed that this set of guidance specified “to enter the workplace,” which is why I wondered if the EEOC had said anything about people NOT entering the workplace. Seems like a loophole that may be a problem.

          1. yooooo*

            Makes me wish if I could un-vaccinate myself and go back to remote work (joking, mostly)

        4. Gov Employee*

          In my area, most employers are requiring proof of vaccine in order to not wear a mask or get temperature checks before going to your desks. If you do not get the vaccine, you are required to wear a mask and if you refuse, you will be wrote up and then terminated if done again. This also applies to wearing it correctly. If caught not wearing it correctly, you will be sent home without pay the first time and then written up if it happens again. We have not had any issues with this policy, as expectations are very clear and people have the option for vaccination if they wish.

        5. Roscoe*

          Yeah, I have a friend who works for a hospital in IT. Since Covid started, he has been remote, and will likely stay that way. But they required he get the vaccine. They said that they could , at any point, need him to come in and they don’t want him to be a risk. I think that is very fair.

      2. ManageCle*

        Wouldn’t a compelling business reason be “we want our employees to be alive and as healthy as possible?” In major hospitals it is common not to allow any nicotine dependence for any employees; you’re screened for nicotine as part of the drug screening. This would seem along the same lines.

      3. Aggretsuko*

        Yeah, my organization required flu shots, but anyone who refused to get one just wasn’t permitted to drop by the building any more. Not that that was a big deal for most people in 2020. Not sure how that will go in 2021 when at least some of us will be forced back, like it or not.

    1. Massive Dynamic*

      CA here, and ironically I did see a post recently from a friend-of-friend in SF who says they are antivax and are now actively avoiding being around vaccinated people due to the mythical “shedding.” All I can think is, HOW. How on earth could you do that at this point in SAN FRANCISCO without locking yourself back down, given how many people in this state (and especially our cities) are vaxxed up at this point.

      1. StellaBella*

        Again, if a person believes this, when their unvaccinated selves get ill come winter from a new Covid wave…. I hope they don’t suffer too much for their nonsense. But jees. Critical thinking and civocs courses seem to be the order of the day. Would all vaccines cause shedding or other nonsense?

    2. AnotherSarah*

      Hmm, I’d look at the flourishing anti-vax movement in WA before issuing that proclamation. It’s horrifying.

    3. Are You SURE West Coast Is Best Coast Right Now?*

      Hi, in the West Coast area here. Unless you literally mean, like, directly on the coastline when you say that, I’m not sure West Coast is doing great on this front.

      My particular region is nearly halfway a mix of… let’s call them individuals inclined to believe vaccination is even a matter of politics in the first place and individuals who are very concerned about humans living in the most natural way possible (but who still live in cities?). Both of those groups seem to be vehemently against vaccinations right now, which is causing a lot of counties in the area to struggle after the 50-60% mark.

      Also, I’m pretty sure only one of the states typically thought of as “West Coast” is scientifically accurate about how relevant one’s faith in higher powers is to medical facts with millions of corroborating data points. (Speaking of: Alison mentioned employers have to allow religious exceptions… is there some national rule that makes the per-state status of that messier than it looks at a glance?)

      1. NYL*

        Some states have additional vaccine exceptions than others beyond medical/religious exemptions. And, if I recall correctly (although it’s been awhile since I actually had to look into this), there are state and circuit splits over what the restrictions are on the requirements to qualify for exemptions (I.e. how/what restrictions can be put on the religious exemptions).

        1. Huh... But I Thought...*

          Weird, I thought California was one of a handful of states that just straight-up do not have the option to cite religion as an excuse. All its neighbors seem to though, and a couple even go as far as to just let anyone opt-out.

          1. NYL*

            This is where the state and federal interpretation differences come into play – the last time the US Supreme Court addresses vaccine was 1922 (Zucht v. King*), and since then state and circuit courts are where the fine parsing lies. Decisions since Zucht have strengthened religious arguments, but there’s still some pretty fine lines on how things get defined and applied. There are states that don’t have them on the books for school kids based on Zucht – I know that the Arkansas district court found that there didn’t have to be a religious exception, and that the Supreme Court denied cert on a second district case, but the Hobby Lobby case calls some of the past reasoning decisions rested on into question. States have found additional protections in their own constitutions, as well as having passed their own laws.**

            *This is a ridiculously short decision that provides no guidance other than saying states can kick kids out of school for not being vaccinated. Old decisions are more concise, but don’t throw nearly as much shade.

            ** Yes, I am a lawyer, and yes, I know this is a detailed non-answer. That’s kind of our niche.

          2. I AM a lawyer.*

            There’s no religious vaccine exemption for school children to attend school (for currently required vaccines – there’s no statewide COVID vaccine requirement for school children right now). There used to be a personal belief exemption for school vaccinations that parents used for religious exemptions but the state got rid of that about 5 years ago. Only medical exemptions are allowed now. Maybe that was what you’re thinking of?

      1. mreasy*

        Our Portland office is the one which has people complaining about our “get out the vax” efforts. I love the west coast and grew up there but there are more of the liberal green juice anti-vaxxer types there.

    4. IANYL*

      and yet it doesn’t have any lobsters…

      (Also NE is far superior to any other coastal (or non-coastal) area)

    5. Gumby*

      I breathlessly await the day Cal OSHA starts acting like being vaccinated matters/works. I am fully vaccinated. Yet I still have to follow all of the same safety precautions at work that I had to follow 6 months ago. You cannot simultaneously tell me that these vaccines are amazingly effective (which, for the record, I believe they are based on everything I have read) and that being vaccinated cannot make any difference to my day to day behavior. Well, obviously you *can* since you *are* but you are starting to really undercut your messaging about how great the vaccines are. I am not asking for a complete return to 2019-like “normalcy” – just some small acknowledgement that being vaccinated makes a difference. Like maybe I could have a conversation with the person in the office next to me where we both are maskless. (She’s also fully vaccinated.) Heck, we can now go to lunch at a restaurant and sit at a table across from each other for 45 minutes, but according to the latest guidelines if I have a quick question and want to poke my head into her office for 30 seconds, I must mask up. It’s not a huge hardship or anything, but it’s stupid.

      1. Working Hypothesis*

        You’d think now that the CDC has explicitly said it’s okay for two vaccinated people to be together without masks, it would be good enough for Cal OSHA, but whatever.

      2. We Forgot To Add Proof*

        It totally wouldn’t surprise me if that’s a logistics thing. Rather than making slower-to-distribute but harder-to-forge cards, or utilizing obvious ways to leverage business access to tech to validate cards (general population just needs a card, but you can print a QR code on it and leverage tech in the spaces where it matters, no digital divide issue there that we wouldn’t already have with the current system), CDC decided to just have these generic and trivially spoofable cards instead. Anyone who owns a regular printer and the right type of label maker can look at an existing card and make a replica with practically no effort.

        Since the “proof” is so trivial to fake, and the people who are anti-vax seem to also be the people who have shown flagrant disregard for being honest about this sort of thing, our broad-scale lack of ability to let vaxxed folks return to normal until everyone agrees to participate in general public safety often boils down to us forgetting to give any way to verify vaccination status in a nation where the honor system isn’t going to work.

        (To be clear, I absolutely agree that it’s a stupid problem to have. I’m not entirely sure I agree with which entity was/is the one doing something stupid to cause the problem, but I do agree that the problem itself is a stupid one for the US to have walked itself right into given how many months we had to think this through before there were vaccines to keep track of.)

  14. Essentially Essential*

    I work at a grocery store with a pharmacy, and if we got vaccinated through that pharmacy, we received a $100 gift card to the store.

    Plus, we also have the financial incentives incorporated into our benefits. An annual checkup counts for $100, dentist visit is another $100, etc. It’s paid out the first week of December, so it kinda acts like the old fashioned Christmas clubs in a way. I think I received a $350 payout last year (before taxes) So, this $100 incentive is nothing new nor rare.

    1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      I work at a grocery store with a pharmacy, and if we got vaccinated through that pharmacy, we received a $100 gift card to the store.

      That is awesome for the subset of the population that eats!

    2. MissBaudelaire*

      I would have been all over that for a hundred dollars.

      Look at all these people getting incentives. All I got was a headache and a button. I kid, I kid.

      1. The Dude Abides*

        I’d take a button over stickers!

        But I also got to do it on work time, without taking PTO.

        1. RussianInTexas*

          I got neither! All I got was the vaccination card that I promptly lost and had to go through the state hoops to get the official records.

  15. Angry fish*

    At this point anyone who can get vaccinated and chooses not to has no excuse. Working in healthcare and choosing not to get the shot(s) should get you fired.

    At this point if these people want to get sick and die, so be it. I’m so tired of how these people drag society and public health down.

    1. Krabby*

      The worst part of it though, is that it won’t be them. It’ll be my friend’s little brother who is severely immuno-compromised, or my mom who had an idiopathic reaction to something five years ago and was told that she should avoid vaccines moving forward unless she wanted to risk being paralyzed from the neck down.

      Those are the people who will suffer and die from this. And that’s not even getting into poorer countries who aren’t getting any doses because richer countries like Canada/US/UK/etc are hoarding them all.

      1. RabbitRabbit*

        ‘Fortunately’ the US’ remaining unvaccinated population (ages 18+) is generally vaccine-reluctant enough that we’re moving to ship extra doses abroad. So, yay/boo.

      2. I edit everything*

        Yeah, I just found out this week that the woman who cuts my hair and who is immuno-compromised just tested positive. She’s been soooo worried about it, but hasn’t been able to afford to not work.

        It kills me that she’s suffering because of other people’s stupidity.

    2. allathian*

      If only. Unfortunately the covidiots are putting a lot of other people at risk with their stupidity. That said, I would be on board with requiring vaccinations for everyone who works with vulnerable populations, especially in healthcare. No exemptions or exceptions. Sorry, if medical issues prevent you from getting vaxxed, you need to find another career. If your religion prevents you from getting vaccinated, ditto. If you decline for any other reason, ditto. I don’t think that a religious exemption is a reasonable accommodation in this case.

  16. Maybe Relevant*

    How is this different from my company giving me an extra $25 off my health insurance each pay period because I don’t smoke.

    Choices have consequences.

    1. Lola Banks*

      My employer contributes $100 to your HSA each year you have an annual check-up with your doctor.

      I wouldn’t complain about not getting the incentive if I chose not to get a physical.

  17. ultimate ali*

    I’ve read a lot about employers requiring vaccines for staff, and for colleges/universities requiring it for students, but what about board members for non-profits? It’s a weird dynamic in the first place, is there a way to require vaccines if they want to attend meetings in person?

    Sorry this comment is only somewhat related, would just love to know people’s thoughts.

    1. Veronica*

      Just got back from volunteering in person at a non-profit for a week. In order to volunteer, they require proof of vaccination and a negative covid test.

    2. pancakes*

      Non-profits aren’t categorically exempt from EEOC rules. It would be quite easy to arrange for a board member to call in to meetings or attend via videoconference, though, so this seems like a non-issue.

  18. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

    1) I hope the policy is implemented and the complainers either get their jabs and collect $100 or literally cry while everyone else cheerfully talks about fun things to do with $100 and ignores their tears.
    2) Why yes, I do live in a state filled with antivaxxers who are VERY LOUD AND UNPLEASANT about it, and yes, I AM very tired! Thank you for asking, I hope it’s better where you are.

    1. Snark*

      I’d just lie on my desk, flinging bills into the air to shower down on me like Scrooge McDuck.

      1. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

        Right? I would make it rain while cheerfully talking about how wonderful and useful that money was.

      2. Clorinda*

        You could get it in shiny new pennies and wallow in it, too.
        I was just happy to get vaccinated, because the reward is, I can take my mask off sometimes! And I don’t worry about getting sick! I can visit elderly relatives!

        1. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

          I was thrilled to get vaxxed because I’m over 65 and was sick of being scared to death all the time (because my age group is at highest risk of dying from it). Same thing with my husband. Finding an appointment wasn’t easy, so finally getting the jab felt like a major accomplishment. And omg, what a relief to finally feel safe after all those months of worrying about that damned virus.

      3. Keymaster of Gozer*

        I’d be totally up for that in UK pound coins….only I’d change whose head they were falling on.

    2. Kat*

      I read the other day that West Virginia has a gun and pickup truck lottery for vaccination. I wish Idaho would do that. The really serious anti-vaxxers would surely object but I’ll bet we have fence sitters in the gun-and-pickup demographic who would change their minds. That might be a pretty cost efficient way to use public health dollars to solve this problem.

  19. anonymouse*

    This reminds me of things we’ve seen here and in our own offices:
    Prizes and benefits to people: losing weight. (I’m already at my best weight) or quitting smoking (not a smoker).

    “Well, they could make it a requirement of employment, and they didn’t.”
    Yeah, but…
    “Well, nobody should get a reward because some people can’t get the vaccine?”
    No, but…
    There will be no answer that makes everyone happy.
    It’s one of the many things that Alison categorizes under, things that happen when you work with people.”

  20. Lad from Down Under*

    Personally I disagree with this scheme. I am 100% pro vaccine and am myself fully vaccinated. I don’t have an issue with employees needing to disclose vaccine status or employers requiring masks etc. for non-vaccinated employees. I don’t even have a problem with vaccination being mandatory in certain workplaces.

    But it doesn’t sit right with me to tie monetary incentives into what is essentially an optional medical procedure. We don’t (usually) pay people to give blood, and in many countries it’s illegal to pay to donate organs. Where I live it’s even illegal to pay for surrogacy. Of course getting a vaccine isn’t the same kind of medical sacrifice, but I don’t like the general principle of people being monetarily incentivised or pressured when it comes to medical procedures.

    1. Snark*

      The difference being, however, this is something we all have a stake in, because it’s a public health issue, not a personal health issue.

      1. mreasy*

        It’s also a business issue, because the more people who are vaccinated and won’t get sick from Covid, the more productive their work force. And the lower their healthcare costs.

    2. OyHiOh*

      For good or for ill, multiple studies in numerous countries over several decades have shown that the single best motivator for people to do something that benefits public life over self interest is money.

      Now, philosophically, I think that intrinsic motivation is more powerful than extrinsic and I’ve tried to develop intrinsic motivation in my own children but for most people, most of the time, extrinsic factors are the things that will get people to act. Witness the varying responses to shelter in place orders last spring! Countries that made sure food and medical care arrived at people’s doors, that expenses were covered while a person couldn’t work, were countries that had higher than average compliance with shelter in place and corresponding relatively low infection rates. Countries like the US, that did not meet people’s basic needs, struggled to keep people home. Money works as the most basic and reliable way to demonstrate society meeting the needs of the individual so the individual will do what benefits society.

      1. AthenaC*

        Right. Intrinsic motivation is what you focus on as an individual, when you are working through your own personal ethics or raising children. Extrinsic motivation is what you focus on when you are setting public policy. Micro vs. macro.

    3. KRM*

      Eh. We had a wellness program at my old job. It wasn’t required, but you could get up to $100/quarter for participating. Because you being active and well is ultimately good for the company. You didn’t have to participate in any way, but hell, I got $400 in a year, and if you’re mad about that…then maybe you should just participate?
      Point is, being vaccinated is good for the health of the company as a whole. So why not offer incentives? You’re not being forced to do it. You’re not being pressured to do it. $100 isn’t a ‘make or break’ amount of money. It’s just nice to have.

    4. Damn it, Hardison!*

      I think there is a difference between incentivized and pressured though. Incentivized is “here’s $100 is you get vaccinated.” There’s no pressure, jut a reward to do it. The pressure doesn’t come from giving people the money; your not asking something away from them if they don’t do it. Pressure could come in other ways, but the very act of giving people money for being vaccinated doesn’t pressure the people who choose not to do it.

      1. OyHiOh*

        Arguably, low economic status creates a pressure to make a medical decision not in a person’s best interest, in the way that the money associated with egg donation and pregnancy surrogacy can create create pressure for poor women. But this vaccine, from an informed science based perspective, doesn’t count as a medical decision that’s not in a person’s best interest. Philosophically, it’s an interesting debate but at this point I think we need less debate and more do!

        1. lost academic*

          That is why there are guidelines around the amount of financial incentives you can use for different levels of medical invasiveness. It’s a well studied and quantified area in medical trials because it’s important to get the necessary numbers of a representative population.

        2. Blackcat*

          NPR reported a while back that a sizable portion of the “vaccine hesitant” are actually low wage workers without PTO who are worried about lost wages due to side effects. A financial payout for the vaccine alleviates that.

          1. allathian*

            Yes, what’s the minimum wage in the US today? That 100 bucks should cover a couple days’ missed work for these people.

      2. SomebodyElse*

        But the guidance cited in Alison’s response indicates that there is or could be pressure…

        _____
        * If the employee receives the vaccine from the employer or the employer’s agent, they can still offer an incentive as long as it is not “so substantial as to be coercive.” (The concern is that a large incentive could make employees feel pressured to disclose protected medical information by responding to pre-screening questions when getting the vaccine from the employer or its agent.)
        ___

        So I’m not sure that I agree with your statement. I mean, $100 seems like it’s over the coercive threshold, when you look at anti corruption and bribery guidelines which usually state a much lower amount that is considered “nominal”

        1. twocents*

          That statement from Alison is specifically around the employer issuing the vaccine, which they are not. They’re just incentivizing you to independently get it.

          And you can’t compare a $100 bonus against bribing government officials in corrupt nations. Different laws regulate these things because they are not comparable.

        2. fhqwhgads*

          There have been a number of studies on how much incentive actually succeeds at incentivizing. Too little is too easy to ignore. Too much feels unreal and thus is somehow, also easy to ignore. It’s the middle spot that actually pushes people to act. I understand for someone in dire financial straights that $100 might actually be coercive, but across wider swaths of the population, less wouldn’t actually be enough of a carrot. $1000, for example, might seem coercive to a larger proportion of people, but it’s also probably less likely to actually work. So it’s a balance with what numbers are offered. They need to not break the “coercive” part of the rules, but not go so small that no one takes them up on it.

        3. Ask a Manager* Post author

          No. That quote is only about programs where the employer or its agent provides the vaccine. The EEOC specifically says incentives in situations where that’s not the case are fine.

    5. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

      I invite you to come visit the Deep South in the US. Really mix in and chat with the large number of folks here who are antivax and antimask. See if you can change their mind without a cash incentive. Then please come and talk to my finacee’s super immunocompromised mom and explain to her why offering the one thing that might get SOME people here to budge on actually getting the vaccine doesn’t sit right with you, even though it could literally be life or death for her.

      I have a few more friends and relatives who can’t get vaccinated themselves and who will almost certainly die if they contract it from one of the numerous antivaxxers roaming around out here that will be in line after her. It should be a pretty full day. Bring snacks.

      1. Lad from Down Under*

        I sympathise. I’m pro vaccine as I said. I’ve lost people I love to COVID and I too have relatives in a similar predicament. And I would do everything I could do convince people – hell I would even make it a legal requirement to get a vaccine without a valid religious or legal exemption. I would not however, provide money as an incentive. Because financial incentives create a dangerous precedent which disproportionately impacts the poorest of society.

        1. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

          No, telling poor people they can get money for selling their blood, plasma, or organs impacts the poorest of society. Incentivizing the Covid-19 vaccines in no way, shape, or form is the same. So again, I invite you to come and look my future MIL in the eye and tell her that you would rather her die than a company implement an incentive program that could save her life, and the reason for that is because you have a poor grasp of difference between “Wave money in front of desperate people to get their healthy organs” and “places of business offer an incentive not unlike the ones many companies already offer for being a non-smoker/getting a flu shot/going in for an annual checkup/etc.” After that, you’ll need to look my other friends and family impacted by antivaxxers and do the same. Last on the list will be my friends who have severely immunocompromised infants. Let me know when you can make it over, I’ll get the socially distant queue set up.

          1. Lad from Down Under*

            You are getting overly hostile and implying I do not understand what it is like to have an at risk mother or an immunocompromised infant (I have both of those things) so I’m not going to engage much further lest this derail the conversation and turn into fruitless back and forth.

            My last point will be in response to you comparing this to similar schemes. I also don’t agree with any other scheme which gives pure cash as an incentive for medical decisions – I’ve never seen them implemented in any workplace I’ve been in. I guess they are not common where I live because unlike the US we have universal healthcare and employers therefore do not often provide health insurance – thus creating more of a separation between the two. Or maybe it’s another reason. Regardless, I still do not believe that financial incentives for medical decisions are ethically ok even if they are necessary.

            1. ThatGirl*

              There has to be a cultural difference at work here. As you know, health insurance in the US is largely tied to employment and there are plenty of instances where monetary rewards are tied to health-related behaviors. You are not obligated to like it or understand it, but please accept that it’s something we are very much used to.

            2. Mental Lentil*

              I’m thinking that what you really do not understand is being poor.

              When I was younger, if I could get $100 for a getting a free vaccination—sign me up right now!

              1. Lad from Down Under*

                Please don’t make assumptions like that.
                I’ve been in situations where I had to starve to keep the lights on, where I’ve walked 2 hours to work and back because I couldn’t afford the bus. I had childhood friends who are still suffering from malnutrition as a result of childhood poverty. I know and see poverty every day and it’s this that makes me dislike the scheme. The whole reason why incentivising medical procedures with money is illegal/unethical is precisely because the poorest of society don’t have the option to refuse, and that infringes on their autonomy.

                You don’t have to agree with me. But please do not assume you know someone’s life situation from 2 paragraphs on the internet.

            3. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

              No, I am being reasonably vocal because your logic and reasoning are rubbish, because I am in a place where healthcare is very different than where you are, and because I think keeping my future MIL, my friends and loved ones, and their vulnerable children alive are more important than the faulty and poor reasoning you use to justify a bad (or at least uneducated) take. Also, because I AM TIRED. It’s nice that you get to live in a place with systems that render this all a cute thought exercise, I don’t, and your lack of understanding and poor grasp of things like incentivizing health initiatives vs purchasing organs from poor people is upsetting and also minimizes the current struggles faced by people in my community. And I get that you are speaking from a place of privilege and don’t realize why this would be upsetting, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is.

        2. Pickled Limes*

          I’m with Hellmouth on this one. You say you would do everything you could do to convince people to get vaccinated. And when large piles of research exists that says that one of the most effective ways to convince people to do a thing they don’t want to do is offer them money, that’s a really reasonable thing to try to convince people to get vaccinated. So you actually *wouldn’t* do everything you could to convince people to get vaccinated.

          This is not a slippery slope. This is flat ground, and if giving people $100 to get vaccinated makes it less likely that my mom will die, give them the damn $100.

        3. Texas*

          Umm… if you make getting vaccinated a legal requirement, then to enforce it you’ve introduced the stick, whereby people are fined (like the ACA in the US before it was gutted) or face another penalty. That has a bigger chance of disproportionally impacting the poorest of society than giving people a financial incentive. It’s quite literally the opposite: giving money rather than taking it. smdh

        4. Calliope*

          Honestly, I think this is backwards. There’s no situation in which it’s ethical to straight out force someone to do something but not to incentivize them to do it.

          The difference between this and surrogacy besides the medical sacrifice (which is “virtually none” and “a crazy amount”, respectively) is that nobody dies if you choose not to be a surrogate. I also would be find with mandating people to get the vaccine; and likewise, since we’re not going to do that, I’m extremely fine with incentivizing it.

    6. RabbitRabbit*

      Admittedly, the problem with paying for blood donations and similar things is because the amount can be high enough (especially if donations occur frequently) to be coercive. A one-time bonus of $100 isn’t high enough to be coercive to already-employed people (in this research regulator’s estimation) and so I personally would find this acceptable.

      1. ABK*

        I feel like that’s the rub. You WANT it to be coercive. The whole point is to coerce people into getting vaccines.

          1. Autumnheart*

            No, I DO want it to be coercive, the same way “Don’t drink and drive” is coercive. If you get a DUI, you get fined and possibly sent to jail, particularly if you cause harm to others in the process.

            An incentive is a nice carrot for people who are otherwise hesitant to get vaccinated (assuming no health barriers), but after the carrot should come the stick.

            1. Working Hypothesis*

              Okay, but don’t you see how well the carrot works first? If I can get results by motivation without needing to coerce, I’ll take that gladly.

      2. Lad from Down Under*

        That is a fair point although I think the precedent being set is to important to consider. I wonder if there’s another incentive which can be given but which isn’t as potentially coercive as cold hard cash. Like some extra PTO or something.

        1. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

          The precedent is already set with incentivized programs numerous companies offer for things like being a non-smoker/going in for a yearly checkup/getting a flu shot/etc.

        2. RabbitRabbit*

          Extra PTO might not be a good thing in healthcare right now. My employer boosted our “use it or lose it” PTO cap over the last year to afford more flexibility, and now that the cap is dropping down to a normal level again, I find that even with an impending week’s vacation before that point, I still will be donating a few days to our emergency PTO leave pool (for those that had to use more leave due to severe illness/etc.). If I was given another day I’d have to give that away too.

          1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

            WTF kind of plan is that?
            I’m derailing, but seriously?
            They take away your time off benefits?
            I get vacation, too. Everyone in my group has been there for decades. The newest members have three weeks’ vacation each.
            We are not allowed carry over, ok, use it or lose it.
            We also get reminders from two levels up to use vacation.
            Not, “hey, you don’t really need those days or you would have used them already, so give them to a coworker”
            The company should be able to support my coworker, not me. I’ll cover for you, coworker when you are out; I’ll write a check (I’m old) for your loss from flood or fire; I’ll buy pizza and cookies from your kids.
            I will not give you a day’s wages.
            I know it’s a thing. It’s just a terrible thing.

            1. RabbitRabbit*

              Yeah, it’s not ideal. We have a large PTO pool and it is intended to cover all PTO, so it’s holidays, sick days, vacation days – so a certain amount will get pulled out of your pool regardless.

              Not everyone is as fortunate to have my problem – I’ve worked there quite a while and did not take vacation for a long time at the start of my employment, so I regularly butt up against the cap. But I know a lot of inpatient employees have only had an extremely small amount of time to take off from work, with the dwindling/plateauing COVID inpatient population.

          2. Phony Genius*

            We’re having a problem like that now. We got an extra 8 months to use our leave. (We have a cap that we have to get below prior to a certain date.) Many people were still over the cap on the original date. Thing is, you still accrue additional leave every pay period. So people will be even more over the cap when the new deadline comes, unless they start spending their time off. This has lead to people taking more time off, knowing it can’t all be used at holiday time. But the same work has to be done in the usual amount of time. Having more time off makes that more difficult.

      3. mreasy*

        Yeah my blood donation network has “points” that you earn when you donate and you can get things like baseball tickets and blood donation sweatshirts. These are closer to $100 cash than they are to the types of money involved in organ donation, adoption, or surrogacy payoffs.

    7. Schwanli*

      I think I agree with you: I’d simply make it mandatory to be vaccinated because it’s a matter of public health. Employers bribing people to do anything health related is a worrying trend. Way too many people have accepted as normal the idea that workplaces should be involved in people’s private health concerns, like smoking or weight loss. I know it’s largely due to the fact that so many people’s health insurance is provided by their employers, but that’s also a very wrong thing in my opinion.
      I’m glad the US government has decided employers can mandate the COVID vaccine though. I hope it happens in Canada too.

      1. fhqwhgads*

        Once it’s mandatory if people don’t comply, then what? There has to be a consequence or “mandatory” is meaningless. So what do you do, fine them? Then it’s two sides of the same coin. You can pay people to do the good thing, or you can make people pay to not do it. Or is your objection only that it’s employers doing the paying? If the gov gave everyone $100 for getting vaccinated, would that be ok?

    8. Nephron*

      My employer is giving bonuses to everyone that is vaccinated, or could not be vaccinated due to medical or religious reasons (with a distinction between religious and personal reasons). The amount is higher than $100.

      My employer also pays salary if you have to serve jury duty, gives people paid time without using time off to donate blood when we have blood drives, and will allow for service days where you are paid to do volunteer work.

      The vaccine payment is both something that will help us all get back to full capacity and activity as we have interaction with the public or interacting between offices as normal activities we have had to suspend for over a year and as a social good thing that as one of the largest employers in the state they like doing.

    9. FrivYeti*

      The issue here is that the reason that we don’t pay for blood or organs is that there is plenty of evidence that doing so puts pressure on very poor people to do something that is potentially a serious detriment to their personal health for someone else’s benefit in order to get money.

      That doesn’t really apply here, for a few reasons. First, it’s a one-time thing, secondly, it is not a detriment to your own health (it’s actually an advantage) and third it does benefit the public good, not just one person’s. And I guess fourth, it’s a relatively minor amount of money.

    10. Mimi Me*

      I live in the US and have gotten free movie tickets, gift cards for local eateries, and the like for donating blood. There are nearby companies that offer cash for plasma. (FYI – Donate plasma if you can, there’s a big shortage!) My current health insurance (I work for a major insurance provider) offers financial incentives towards my plan out of pocket amounts with tasks like getting a flu shot, having a physical, getting a mammogram – all optional medical procedures. I don’t see how this is any different. This incentive benefits the recipient twice – once because now they’re vaccinated and then again with a nice little bit of money to spend.

      1. Ellen Ripley*

        Yes, the blood centers are desperate and giving all kinds of goodies: the last couple times I gave blood each time I got a free t-shirt, a gift card to a local restaurant, and another gift card from one of those e-gift card marketplaces where you could choose your vendor. I’ve also gotten a nice stainless steel water bottle, a travel mug, a canvas totebag, and a couple other things, not to mention all the gift cards. It may not be paid per se but it’s definitely a financial incentive.

        (Side note: I’ve never gotten why in the US you can pay for plasma but not for other blood products. My understanding is that in most countries you can’t pay for plasma either.)

        My employer is doing a series of $500 bonuses in a lottery format – everyone who fills out the vaccination survey and indicates they’ve been vaccinated is eligible for one of the bonuses.

        1. Nina*

          I live in a country where you don’t get paid for any blood products, but I regularly donate plasma and the difference between plasma and blood is that if you stay hydrated, you can in theory give plasma every other day and be fine (we have a two-week stand-down mainly for the veins to recover!), whereas you can’t give blood more than once a month without some pretty interesting health risks. So the harm someone would incur by selling their plasma very often is not that great.

        2. Bagpuss*

          I’m in the UK and you don’t get paid for donating either blood or plasma (although you do get a nice cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit!)

          You’re not allowed to donate blood more frequently than every 12 weeks (men) or 16 weeks (women) , for plasma I think it’s about 2 weeks, but its a while since I did it as the closest centre to me is too far to get to regularly .

          The blood donation service does surveys from time to time about payment and mostly, and I seem to recall that people are strongly against any form of payment for blood or blood products, , with regular donors being more opposed than the population at large.

          (Which makes sens to me – I would feel uncomfortable about getting paid)

      2. MissBaudelaire*

        I was about to say, I’m pretty sure a few pals of mine got tshirts for donating blood. I know, big whoop, but it’s still something. And there have been certain companies that will host a blood drive and offer a little what not if you did it, I think.

        And we have a company in my town that you can sell plasma too. Incentives are nothing new, and if it gets the job done, I guess I’m hard pressed to see a real problem. Even in school we had pizza parties for the kids who read over a certain amount of books. If you wanted to go to the party, read more books. If you want the hundred bucks, get the jab.

      3. Blackcat*

        Last year, where I am, Target gave you a $15 gift card with your flu shot.
        It’s because if they get you in the door, you buy more than $15 worth of stuff while you are there for your shot!

    11. EBStarr*

      Paying someone to do something that’s a net positive for them is totally different than paying someone to give up their blood or organs.

      1. Lad from Down Under*

        Yes I agree it’s different. But FYI blood and organ donation are also net positive.

        1. inksmith*

          Not for the person donating them; EBStarr said “a net positive FOR THEM” ie the people doing the thing.

          I mean, you should still think about donating blood and being an organ donor if you can, but they don’t have a net positive effect on you, just on the person getting the blood/organ.

    12. TPS reporter*

      $100 is very similar to payments that participants in research receive. It’s not an incentive, it’s to compensate for their time- travel time, time out of work.

    13. Esmeralda*

      I get a monthly discount on my insurance premiums if I sign a tobacco attestation (= I attest that I am not a smoker or that if I am a smoker I will try to quit) and for signing up for a preferred provider who is in the insurance co’s approved list. If I don’t want to do those things, I get the standard rate.

      Those are incentives. The $100 the OP describes is an incentive. Nobody is being pressured.

      And frankly, we DO pressure people to undergo medical procedures, more specifically vaccines. Want to go to the public school? Kid must be vaccinated or have a reason not to. Same with colleges and universities.

      There’s drug testing for many jobs, too.

    14. Tired of Covid-and People*

      It’s a hundred-year pandemic. Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures. And yes, people get paid for donating plasma every day, which is functionally no different than donating whole blood. No similarity between selling organs and vaccination, for heaven’s sake!

    15. anonymath*

      I think the difference here is that what you talk about (giving blood, donating organs, surrogacy) involves giving part of your body to someone else. There is a literal exchange of flesh/blood involved, and the distaste revolves around paying for human parts.

      With the vaccine and this incentive scheme, you’re being paid to not kill other people, which is different. There’s no exchange of money for literal exchange of flesh/blood.

      I think you’re focusing on the risk part, and indeed I can understand the hesitancy to pay people to do something with a bit of risk — except we don’t seem to extend this to employing miners or DoorDash delivery people or window cleaners or daycare workers or home health aides, all of whom accept physical risk for money.

    16. Blue Eagle*

      But the Red Cross DOES give incentives for people to give blood. Each time they contact us they offer some kind of incentive to entice us to sign up to give blood again.

    17. Sweet Christmas*

      Those are for completely different reasons. Not paying people for blood or organs attempts to avoid undue pressure on low-income people to do something that may be unhealthy for them, or to advantage wealthy people when it comes to getting organ transplants or blood transfusions.

      Giving people $100 incentivizes them for taking a step that protects public health – not just theirs but everyone around them. People are monetarily incentivized for all kinds of medical things – smoking cessation, weight loss, fitness programs and others. Money is an attractive incentive to get people to do things to keep themselves and others healthy.

  21. Guacamole Bob*

    OP, does your wife’s employer offer paid time off both to get the vaccine and deal with the side effects? Are her employees low-wage hourly workers? I’ve read that one common cause of hesitancy is the fear of missing shifts (and pay) because of the side effects of the vaccine. If the employer is giving bonuses to vaccinated people but not making it easy to actually get vaccinated, I could understand the grumbling.

    If they’re just anti-vax, I have little sympathy, but if she supervises a bunch of assistants making $13/hour with little or no PTO it might be worth seeing if she can advocate for better policies to enable more people to get vaccinated.

    1. 4CeeleenLV*

      I’d actually agree with this. I had to miss 3 days of work due to Moderna, and so did almost everyone at my company who got it. We had tons of call-outs that we weren’t prepared for because it’s taboo to discuss that many people have severe side effects. My manager gave me so much shit for calling out, even though she had the same thing happen and was out for even more days! We have mostly younger women working for us, which is the demo that’s apparently had a lot of side effects from Moderna. Anecdotally (super anecdotally, as is all of my comment) it seems like people who had covid got the bad side effects from the first shot, while those who didn’t get covid had bad side effects from the second shot. I would get it again, I would get a booster tomorrow, but I also wish that there was more discussion/support surrounding side effects. It’s tone-deaf for an employer to require or even encourage a vaccine and then act shocked-Pikachu-face when people have no choice but to call out and take unpaid time. Especially when it’s entirely predictable. My time off actually was paid only due to a government reimbursement program of some sort, but for lots of people (we have temps/contractors) it wasn’t.

      1. Guacamole Bob*

        And this is an even bigger issue for clinical staff – who should be extra careful to call out if they’re having symptoms, and who have to be on their feet much of the day, and where coverage is important – than it would be for office staff who can just have a less-than-stellar WFH day if they’re a little under the weather.

      2. Always a nurse*

        The pattern of “had Covid, reacted to first shot” and “didn’t have Covid, reacted to second shot” is perfectly aligned with immunology in it’s simplest form. People mostly don’t have a immunoresponse the first time they are exposed to something, but when their immune system sees it again, the system responds. So the actual case of Covid was the first exposure, and the vaccination was the second. People who hadn’t had Covid didn’t respond to the first, but did from the second. My boss simply expected that staff would miss a day or so of work post immunization, and we had sick time to cover it.

        1. Anonymous Hippo*

          Well that makes perfect sense now that you say it out loud. I wondered why I was seeing that anecdotally.

        2. biobotb*

          What? No, you definitely have an immune response to a pathogen the first time you’re exposed, otherwise there would be no immune memory underlying a faster, stronger response the second time. If you didn’t have an immune response the first time, every exposure would be like the first time.

        3. Keymaster of Gozer*

          That’s…rather an oversimplification of the entire immune system – a system which to this day we’re still discovering new things about. The pattern of who has bad symptoms to the shot versus who doesn’t is still being researched and I don’t think we’ll ever have a conclusive answer.

          Because the human body is a phenomenally complex and largely still not predictable beast.

    2. Guacamole Bob*

      Side note: my agency did give PTO for the vaccine and side effects, but encouraged us to get the shots on Fridays (or before scheduled days off for shift workers). I ignored that because I have youngish kids, and being laid out with a fever and aches while they were home sounded much worse than recovering on a weekday while they were in school. Fortunately my arm barely ached and it didn’t matter one way or the other, but I resented the message that recovery should come out of my personal time, during which I have caregiving responsibilities, instead of out of work time.

    3. I edit everything*

      I have an acquaintance who works for a school (!!) for special needs children (!!!!!) that has been penalizing people for getting the vaccine, requiring them them to take multiple days off, unpaid, after getting it. No surprise: the staff haven’t exactly been rushing the vaccination centers, especially the lower-paid staff, like my friend who works in the cafeteria. They’ve all been waiting for school to get out for the summer.

    4. Mr. Tumnus*

      We have a mix of low-wage hourly workers and higher paid salaried workers. They were all offered a $50 bonus to get the vaccine. I am the only one who knows who has been vaccinated, and I give out $50 in cash when I see the card.
      When we made the announcement (the day that our state made it available to everyone 18+), we included links to all of the places that were making appointments. When walk-up sites were available, we let our staff know about those, as well.
      We knew we were going to have to suck it up for a few days if anyone called out due to vaccine reactions, and we made it clear that no one would be penalized. To my knowledge, only two employees (out of ~125) had to miss any time at all. We also allowed them to go during their shifts when we had an announcement of a county pop-up vaccine site a couple blocks away.
      We are at close to 70% vaccinated and our state is still at 35%. This is in spite of the fact that we made it very clear that the owners of our company consider vaccination their choice and that we would not question anyone’s reasons for not choosing vaccination, nor would we inquire into their medical backgrounds. We have a lot of vaccine hesitancy in our area, and we didn’t want to push people into a corner. Our staff were slow to get vaccinated, even with the bonus, until a few people had done it and could report that we really were taking their privacy seriously, and that we really did just want to encourage good choices.

    5. I AM a lawyer.*

      California required employers with more than 25 employees to provide paid leave for this, and it’s awesome.

  22. irene adler*

    Geez!
    Be happy the employer isn’t docking the non-vaccinated that $100.

    Hmm, bet they didn’t think of that one.

    1. StellaBella*

      LOL. That point could be made indeed to these anti vaxxer pro pandemic folk.

    2. Mental Lentil*

      I’m sure that’s how these people are seeing it. They tend to view everything as a zero-sum game. If somebody else has something (happiness, for example) it’s because they now have less of it.

      1. RicksGuardian*

        Reminds of the old “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” episode where she turned green with envy about someone else’s success. She learned the moral at the end: “Harvey’s [or whoever it was] accomplishment doesn’t diminish my own.”

      1. IANYL*

        Illegal how? If you can fire someone for not being vaccinated then why can’t you fine them? Unless monetary fines are in and of themselves mot legal (my recollection is they are as long as they don’t bring wages under minimum wage?

        1. I'm just here for the cats*

          I think it would be illegal because you have to pay people for the hours worked at the pay rate they agreed to.

          1. irene adler*

            But if there’s an announcement -ahead of time- indicating a lower pay rate for the un-vaccinated-wouldn’t that fix this?

        2. Susie Q*

          You can’t dock people’s wages. You can fire them. You have to pay a nonexempt employee for every hour worked. And you can only dock an exempt employee’s wage under very specific circumstances.

  23. Sylvan*

    No advice, just gratitude for people getting vaxxed (people who can get vaxxed, I mean) and encouraging others.

    My state government will give ya $25 if you give someone a car ride to their vaccination.

    1. Peridot*

      If you’re declining to get the vaccination but are still diligently masking and distancing, you’re way ahead of all the other vaccine deniers I’ve seen.

  24. Monty & Millie's Mom*

    My employer (gov’t agency) neither allowed paid time off to get the vaccine, nor is offering any sort of incentive to those of us who got it. And while that would have been nice – either or both those things! – I’m trying to look at it as just doing my part. We shouldn’t HAVE to be incentivized to make the world a better/safer place! So I ain’t got no patience for those whiners who aren’t happy with the vaccinated getting a little bonus! It literally does not affect those who choose not to be vaccinated – and the emphasis there is on “choose”!

    1. StellaBella*

      Exactly. I was overcome with emotion gettin my first vaccine. I was helping.

      But your point that it literally does not affect them if the choose to be an anti vaxxer, I beg to differ… as when a new wave comes in winter again, those not vaccinated are statisically probably more likely to catch it amd suffer or worse. So there are consequences.

  25. Casey*

    I’ve been wondering how this is going to play out! All the guidelines mentioned made a lot of sense.
    The one thing I’ve been thinking about is how this will affect those with real medical concerns they don’t want to disclose. I have a friend with a medical condition that would make getting the vaccine deadly. Her (multiple) doctors have all told her in no uncertain terms not to get vaccinated.
    What would happen if there is someone like this who does not want to disclose their medical condition? They’ll just be known as the selfish jerk who won’t vaccinate, and everyone will know because they’ll have different rules in the office.
    On the one hand, people like this benefit from having as many people as possible vaccinated, specifically because they can’t get vaccinated. And at the same time, policies requiring proof of vaccination would put them in a position of either disclosing private medical information or being thought of as an awful person.

    1. 4CeeleenLV*

      This is exactly why the frivolous anti-vaxxers are jerks. People like your friend don’t have a choice to get the vaccine, the only way she can be protected is by enough of the people surrounding her getting vaccinated. The people who do have a choice but choose not to for no good reason are directly harming her by removing her chance to be benefited by the vaccine. And they’re creating the stereotype that unvaccinated people are just jerks, which will then be applied unfairly to your friend. And I agree that proof-of-vaccine policies will mostly harm people like her, rather than people who can safely be vaccinated and just don’t want to. I think the language in the FDA auth is pretty clear that the vaccine can’t be required by the government, so I’m hoping that will protect people like your friend.

    2. Thursdaysgeek*

      This is another reason I’ll continue to wear a mask, even though I did get the vaccine – I’ll be another person in the office with a mask, someone standing out as different, so that if there is someone who truly can’t get the vaccine, they won’t be the only odd one out.

      1. Rainy*

        I’m vaccinated and continuing to mask when I go to the office or am in stores. While vaccine rates in my country are very high, there are still people who have been unable to access it or who can’t get it for health reasons, and small children still can’t be vaccinated. I have a lot of coworkers with little kids, and I don’t want to contribute to an atmosphere where they need to fear they will take something home that could kill their child.

        1. Guacamole Bob*

          The messaging around this issue has been terrible. The science is still developing, I think, but the recent CDC guidance seemed entirely targeted at the vaccinated or unvaccinated individual and didn’t even address the question of the potential of a vaccinated person transmitting the virus to an unvaccinated person they live with. The latest I’ve seen from my research is that it’s a pretty low risk, but my vaccinated mother would really like it to be clearly spelled out what risk she may present to my severely immunocompromised father.