As blogged about here, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently updated its Guidance on COVID-19 safety precautions. Within the Guidance, OSHA made it clear that employers should educate employees regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.
On February 10, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) responded by publishing a treasure trove of educational materials for essential employers, including:
- How to Start Promoting Vaccines
- Resources to Communicate with Your Employees
- Flyers & Posters
- Printable Stickers
- Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination for Employers
- Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination for Employees
The CDC vaccination materials can be found here: Essential Workers COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | CDC.
As of the date of this blog, employers are permitted (but not required) to mandate that employees get the COVID-19 vaccine under federal law, unless the employee requires a reasonable accommodation due to medical or religious reasons. However, OSHA says all employers need to start educating their workforce about the COVID-19 vaccine now.
In addition to the CDC vaccination materials, employers may want to address debunked myths about the COVID-19 vaccine. The Mayo Clinic published an article that can be found here, Vaccine Myths Debunked, addressing widespread misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine. The debunked myths include:
Myth: COVID-19 vaccines will alter my DNA.
Fact: The first COVID-19 vaccines to reach the market are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. According to the CDC, mRNA vaccines work by instructing cells in the body how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. Injecting mRNA into your body will not interact or do anything to the DNA of your cells. Human cells break down and get rid of the mRNA soon after they have finished using the instructions.
Myth: COVID-19 vaccines were developed using fetal tissue.
Fact: Neither the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine nor the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines contain fetal cells nor were fetal cells used the development or production of either vaccine.
Myth: COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility or miscarriage.
Fact: No, COVID-19 vaccines have not been linked to infertility or miscarriage. A sophisticated disinformation campaign has been circulating online, claiming that antibodies to the spike protein of COVID-19 produced from these vaccines will bind to placental proteins and prevent pregnancy. This disinformation is thought to originate from internet postings by a former scientist known to hold anti-vaccine views. During natural infection, the immune system generates the same antibodies to the spike protein that COVID-19 vaccines would. Thus, if COVID-19 affected fertility, there already would be an increase in miscarriage rates in women infected with COVID-19. This has not happened.
Myth: I am allergic to eggs so I shouldn't get the COVID-19 vaccine
Fact: Neither the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine nor the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines contain egg nor were eggs used the development or production of either vaccine. However, those with severe allergic reactions to eggs or any other substance (i.e., anaphylaxis) are encouraged to remain after vaccination for 30 minutes for observation.
Myth: COVID-19 vaccines must be stored at extremely low temperatures because of preservatives in the vaccines.
Fact: Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have reported that their vaccines contain no preservatives.
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