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Most employers will require workers to get COVID-19 shots, survey shows

·2 min read

The majority of U.S. employers already have or will require their employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19, a national survey conducted in mid-November found.

The survey from Willis Towers Watson, a global advisory, brokering and solutions firm also found that just 3% of employers said their vaccination mandates have resulted in a spike in resignations. Nearly half of the employers surveyed believe the mandates could help recruit and retain employees.

Yet, nearly 1 in 3 employers planning on COVID-19 mandates said they are "very concerned" that new rules could contribute to workers quitting.

President Joe Biden on Monday again urged Americans to get vaccinated, obtain a booster shot and wear a mask in public places amid potential future surges of COVID-19 from the omicron variant that was first identified in South Africa last week.

The president in early November issued vaccination-or-testing requirements for companies with at least 100 employees, but businesses and several Republican governors and attorneys general have sued the administration over the rules.

A federal appeals court has put the requirement for businesses on hold, while a federal judge on Monday partially blocked in 10 states the White House's efforts to roll out a vaccine mandate for certain health care workers.

The U.S. has recorded more than 48 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 776,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. That's more than the entire population of Seattle.

More than 196 million Americans – roughly 59% of the population – are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

The Willis Towers Watson survey was released early Tuesday and conducted Nov. 12-18 with 543 U.S. employers. The respondents employ 5.2 million workers. The survey had a margin of error of 4%.

The survey found that in addition to vaccine mandates, employers are planning to require testing and masks to protect employees who are returning to workplaces.

In addition, the survey found waning enthusiasm for businesses to provide financial incentives for COVID-19 vaccinations. A research paper from USC and UCLA for the National Bureau of Economic Research in October found money incentives did not increase vaccinations among those not wanting the shot.

The survey also found:

►Half of the respondents have pandemic restrictions in place for business travel.

►Nearly 1 in 5 employers believe their employee vaccination rate is less than 50%.

►The majority of federal contractors say they will apply vaccine mandate rules for federal contractors to all workers at all locations.

►Just more than half of the respondents requiring or planning to require vaccinations will internally evaluate requests for medical and religious exemptions.

Have a tip on business or investigative stories? Reach the reporter at craig.harris@usatoday.com or 602-509-3613 or on Twitter @CraigHarrisUSAT

n this Sept. 14, 2021, file photo, a syringe is prepared with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at the Reading Area Community College in Reading, Pa.  Millions of U.S. workers now have a Jan. 4 deadline to get a COVID vaccine.
n this Sept. 14, 2021, file photo, a syringe is prepared with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at the Reading Area Community College in Reading, Pa. Millions of U.S. workers now have a Jan. 4 deadline to get a COVID vaccine.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Vaccination mandates: Most employers will require COVID-19 shots