Many workers favour mandatory booster shots

'With some provincial governments already rolling out booster shots… it will be an issue Canadian companies are forced to confront'

Many workers favour mandatory booster shots

Nearly half (48 per cent) of Canadians believe that employers should require workers to receive a booster shot against COVID-19.

And 34 per cent say that while it should not be required, employers should encourage workers to take the jab, finds a survey by Express Employment Professionals of 1,012 Canadian adults between Sept. 2 and 6, 2021.

Less than one in five (18 per cent) say that employers should not take a stance on this issue.

Although initial COVID-19 vaccines are currently required by some employers, some provincial governments already rolling out booster shots for seniors and other high-risk groups, and the United States set to offer wide scale booster shots, so this will be an issue Canadian companies are forced to confront, says the staffing agency.

Canadian HR Reporter recently spoke with a legal expert about privacy concerns and some of the ways employers should safeguard that data when implementing a mandatory vaccination policy at the workplace.

Nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) of small and medium-sized employers in Canada are making or plan to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for employees, finds a new poll by KPMG in Canada.

Are boosters necessary?

The benefits of giving out booster shots are still being debated worldwide, along with the ethics of this move when so many countries have still not given out initial vaccines.

There is evidence that people who have serious immunocompromised conditions that don't seem to respond to the first two doses as well may need a third dose, says Katherine O'Brien, director of the department of immunization, vaccines and biologicals at the World Health Organization (WHO).

And while a third dose may increase the immune response, there is no conclusive evidence that a booster dose among most people who have been vaccinated already is needed, she says.
“Giving a third dose needs to be monitored for the safety issues, and we would like to see a safety database before we would make any such recommendation.”

Similarly, a group of scientists wrote in the Lancet recently that any decision to roll out booster shots “should be evidence-based and consider the benefits and risks for individuals and society.”

“Careful and public scrutiny of the evolving data will be needed to assure that decisions about boosting are informed by reliable science more than by politics. Even if boosting were eventually shown to decrease the medium-term risk of serious disease, current vaccine supplies could save more lives if used in previously unvaccinated populations than if used as boosters in vaccinated populations.”

The federal government, Ontario, KPMG and several other employers have started requiring workers to receive COVID-19 vaccines.

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