NBLC Employer-Mandated Vaccination Policy
- We have effective, safe, free, FDA-approved vaccines widely available to the entire community, except for children younger than 12, with vaccines soon to be approved for the 5 – 12 year olds. At this point, any employee who is not yet vaccinated has ample options and opportunities to get vaccinated.
- The longer we do not have a community that is as close to fully vaccinated as possible, the longer we put people’s lives and the health of our economy at risk.
- The notion of requiring vaccines has long been accepted legally and medically – we receive vaccines to travel, to go to public school, to participate in athletic leagues, for employment in certain sectors, and in many other settings.
- We support the State’s actions that all state employees, as well as staff of all childcare facilities and preK-12 schools statewide, must receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by 9/27. Those who do not get vaccinated due to certain exemptions will be required to be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis. We support local governments mandating vaccinations for their public employees. We applaud every employer who has educated, encouraged, and incentivized their employees to receive a COVID vaccine voluntarily.
- While we recognize there are potential legal questions, and potential workforce impacts, North Bay Leadership Council supports employers who require their employees to get vaccinated – or have employees take routine tests if a vaccine is not feasible. Further, we support our local government’s efforts to strongly encourage and incentivize this of employers, and we support the State and Federal government’s move toward requiring a COVID vaccine of everyone eligible.
The rapid spread of the highly contagious Delta variant should be a clear and dangerous reminder that we continue to be in a race against the spread and constant mutation of this virus. Vaccination rates are not uniform across the country, and our region has done better than most, but high-risk areas remain and ongoing surges will eventually stretch or break through hospital capacity.
Interventions such as stay-at-home orders and social distancing can slow the tide of infections, but they are disruptive, difficult to sustain, and will further hamstring our economic recovery. Restarting mask mandates will help but cannot be as effective as vaccination. Testing, isolation, and contact tracing of infected individuals all have a role in reducing infections but our collective experience to this point clearly shows these approaches are not sufficient to stop the spread and mutation of the virus. We must continue to trust the science and public health officials and make sound, evidence-based decisions.
In the absence of a legal, public mandate to vaccinate, the next and necessary step is for employers in private businesses, and nonprofit institutions to require vaccination among employees returning to in-person work and customers for whom vaccination is a medically safe choice. Health care organizations like Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Health have taken this step, and private businesses such as Google, United Airlines, and Facebook have followed.
As leaders that have a stake in the health of our region and economy, it is time for us to stand unified and support requiring vaccination against COVID-19, excluding those with religious or medical exceptions, as a condition of on-site employment or receiving services. NBLC has been a leading and trusted voice in the community. While this statement does not represent an endorsement of specific legislation at any level of government, making such a recommendation demonstrates that employers across the region understand that a flourishing economy relies on a healthy population. The choice is ours, we can and must follow the example of prior leadership that led our nation out of harm’s way through vaccination. It is the surest path to a return to prosperity, health, and security.