Should employers require COVID-19 vaccines, who are the biggest virus spreaders, and how is one state making Ban the Box even better for ex-offenders looking for work? The answers are in today’s EBI Screening News Weekly Wrap.
Should You Require Employees to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?
One of the big stories to come out of our nation’s COVID-19 experience is the lightning fast efforts to create a vaccine. Right now, there are four strong candidates in late-phase human trials, and Dr. Anthony Fauci told Congress we should have about 700 million doses by April. If those numbers hold true, every American could be vaccinated by spring.
But, as we get closer to a vaccine, more and more people are claiming they will not take it, even if it is approved and available. Several polls have found as many as 49% of Americans say they will not get the vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is already working on a plan to boost the public’s confidence in a vaccine, and employers are starting to wonder if this could be the key to getting back to work. The question now is – should employers require employees to get the shot?
Right now, guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) suggests employers treat the COVID-19 vaccine the same as the flu. That means encourage employees to get it, maybe even offer it on-site for free, like so many do with the flu vaccine every year. There may be some employment situations that would merit mandatory vaccinations – with religious and health related exceptions in place – but don’t expect any changes to the official guidance until a vaccine is ready to go.
Shocking Numbers in Superspreader Study
As we all try to get our work and school lives back to normal, understanding how the coronavirus spreads is a huge piece of the puzzle. A new study from researchers at Princeton, Johns Hopkins, and the University of California, Berkeley studied how half-a-million people in India contracted the virus. Their results are shocking.
In the largest contact tracing study to date, researchers found that 71% of those infected with the virus did not pass COVID-19 on to a single contact. A whopping 60% of all new infections were passed by just 8% of those infected with the virus. The people in this 8% are now being referred to as superspreaders.
The researchers found that those superspreaders were usually children and young adults. This group was key to spreading the virus to both their families and their peers. This study shows how powerful contact tracing can be when done in a timely manner.
Hawaii Amends Ban the Box Law
Do you know which state passed the very first Ban the Box law? OK, the subtitle gave it away! Hawaii passed its original Ban the Box law back in 1998. The state is now amending the law hoping to provide even stronger protections to ex-offenders.
The original law allowed employers to consider criminal convictions that happened within the last 10 years as long as they had a “rational relationship” to the responsibilities of the job. The legislature found this “ten-year lookback period” was too challenging for ex-offenders trying to turn their lives around.
The new, updated version of the law reduces felony convictions to those that happened within the last seven years; five years for misdemeanors. As with most Ban the Box laws, there are exceptions for positions that affect public safety.