As you know, this week brought news of the first vaccines distributed to healthcare workers across the country and right here in Washtenaw County. I have received some great questions from employees on the topic of vaccines that I want to share with you:
- What will be the cost of the vaccine? The COVID vaccine is covered by our insurance and will be free for employees and their dependents.
- If I get the vaccine, can I stop wearing a mask at work? In the short-term, you will still be required to wear a mask, practice social distancing and good hygiene even after receiving the vaccine. Eventually, once enough of the population has been vaccinated and MIOSHA rules allow it, we can get back to a more normal operation but that won’t be for a while.
- What happens if I experience side effects after getting the vaccine and need time off? Side effects after getting the vaccine appear to vary by person but most are reportedly mild. Currently, side effects from vaccines are not covered under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (which expires on December 31), so right now, employees are expected to use annual leave, if needed.
In addition to the Pfizer vaccine which was approved last week, it also appears the Moderna vaccine may be approved for emergency use as early as this weekend. We will continue to do our best to share information with you about these vaccines and their distribution as the situation develops.
Lastly, Governor Whitmer held a press conference this afternoon and announced a new state epidemic order, effective December 21 – January 15. This is a continuation of the “Pause to Save Lives” with a focus on reducing indoor gatherings, especially when masks cannot be worn at all times. While this new order allows some venues like movie theatres to reopen, remote work is still required if possible. Here are WCRC, we will continue to operate as we have been for the past month. Click here for more information.
I’m taking some time off over the next two weeks for the holidays, so this will be my last weekly update of the year. I want to extend my deep appreciation for all your hard work this year. Here’s to a much better 2021!
I hope you have a safe holiday season,