Half of US workers want their colleagues vaccinated before return to work

The poll found most workers also support mask mandates in their workplaces

Graig Graziosi
Thursday 26 August 2021 21:17
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A new poll found that half of American workers would support a vaccine mandate at their workplaces, a revelation that comes in the wake of the Pfizer coronavirus shot receiving full approval from the US Food and Drug Administration.

The poll was conducted by The Associated Press - NORC Centre for Public Affairs Research, and found that approximately 59 per cent of remote workers would prefer a vaccine requirement be in place before they return to their workplaces. That is compared with 47 per cent who are working in person.

Only a quarter of respondents across both categories were opposed to a mandate.

The Associated Press reports that the numbers were similar when respondents were asked about mask mandates at work. Around 50 per cent of Americans working in person supported mask mandates, while only 29 per cent opposed. Among 59 per cent of remote workers said they would favour a mask mandate at their work places.

Of college graduates who responded - and who are more likely to work remote jobs - 6 in 10 said they supported both mask and vaccine mandates for their workplaces, compared to 4 in 10 workers without degrees.

The full approval of the Pfizer shot by the USFDA has removed a potential legal hurdle for companies and government employers who want to enact vaccine mandates in their workplaces. Some workplaces have already put vaccine mandates in place, as has the federal government, with the option for those without a vaccine to undergo weekly Covid-19 testing.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said he expected to see more mandates go into effect now that the shot has been fully approved.

While companies that rely on salaried workers have been early adopters of vaccine mandates, companies that rely on hourly workers - particularly in the retail and food service industries - have been less willing to enact the restrictions over fear that workers will quit. Companies with hourly workers have been struggling to find and retain employees willing to work in person for generally low wages.

There are exceptions to that rule. Both Tyson Foods and Walt Disney World - who primarily employ hourly workers - have put vaccine mandates into place.

The AP poll also found that there were divisions along racial lines.

Of Black respondents, 73 per cent said they support mask mandates at their workplaces, as compared to 42 per cent of white workers. Of Hispanic respondents, 59 per cent said they supported mask mandates.

Fifty-three per cent of Black and Hispanic respondents - who are more likely to work front line or in-person jobs - said they supported vaccine mandates in the workplace, as compared to 44 per cent of white workers.

The poll surveyed 1,729 adults between 12-16 August, and has a margin of sampling error for all respondents plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

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