COVID-19 Booster Shots and Companies Going Back to Work

By: Gianna Minasian

On Thursday October 21st, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC), in conjunction with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA),
had approved booster shots for people over 18 years old for both the Moderna and the Johnson &
Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. Pfizer’s booster shot had already been approved weeks before.

This approval came in the wake of President Joe Biden’s September directive that all
large companies must require their employees either to be fully vaccinated or comply with
weekly COVID testing.

In the aftermath of Biden’s directive, companies are scrambling to create policies that
comply with federal COVID policy. While, last month, only about 15% of companies had
vaccine mandates, an October report by Fortune found that over 1⁄4 of companies are now
requiring either 1) full vaccination, 2) weekly negative COVID tests, or 3) employees to work
from home. Some companies, such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, are taking another approach,
allowing permanent work from home for many employees.

But, with booster approvals, an additional component comes into play. Companies will
now be faced with the decision of whether or not to require additional vaccine boosters for their
employees. Currently, while Student Health is offering booster shots, Vanderbilt has not required
students to take a COVID booster yet.

Additionally, many major corporations must weigh the consequences of requiring
employees to be vaccinated. The same Fortune report found that companies should expect to lose
up to 8% of employees either because they refuse to comply with COVID policy or they quit
their jobs.

The approval of the COVID booster shots adds another level of complexity to an already
tumultuous and competitive national job market. While, according to administration, almost all
Vanderbilt students are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, developments in booster shot
approval, presidential directives, and updated corporate company policies are all cause for
students to consider their post-graduation job options carefully.

By Gianna Minasian

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