Three in Five Employees Believe That Their Companies Should Create a COVID-19 Vaccine Policy

March 4, 2021 10:30 AM EST
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New survey reveals employee attitudes for workplace COVID-19 vaccination policies and approaches

MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Three in five United States employees – working for companies without a COVID-19 vaccination policy – believe their companies should create one, and almost half say they won’t feel comfortable returning to work unless at least 50% of all employees are vaccinated. This is according to a new study commissioned by Padilla and conducted by its research division, SMS Research Advisors.

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Spotlight Survey Results: Workplace COVID-19 Vaccine Policy (Graphic: Padilla)

Spotlight Survey Results: Workplace COVID-19 Vaccine Policy (Graphic: Padilla)

Employees want clarity, whether they believe in mandatory vaccinations or not, according to the survey. For surveyed employees working for companies with existing vaccination policies, 85% of employees supported the approach.

Almost half of employees working for companies with 1,000 or fewer coworkers, want 75% or more of their coworkers vaccinated before they return to the workplace. In general, organizations are not requiring their employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. This is especially true for smaller organizations, where the idea of employees getting a vaccine has met more resistance.

“There’s an emotional underpinning that’s driving the quest for clarity around company COVID-19 vaccination policies,” said Matt Kucharski, Padilla president. “This pandemic has been accompanied by a deluge of conflicting information, uncertainty and ambiguity, so the desire for a clear policy – even if it’s not one that they agree with – is understandable.”

Employers should be prepared for disputes likely to arise between employees who want a high level of vaccination at their workplaces and those who want it to be a personal choice. The most common opposition to a mandatory workplace vaccination policy comes from employees who want to receive a vaccine, but do not think their employer should require it – and those who oppose the vaccine altogether and do not want their employer to require it.

“Some want vaccines to be mandatory, some want it to be a personal choice, and there are still some anti-vaxxers out there,” Kucharski said. “The challenge is that they’ll be sitting right next to each other in the workplace and companies will need to manage that.”

Incentives to vaccinate do not appear to be motivators for employees – only one in three employees indicate an interest in their companies offering an incentive to vaccinate while others appear to believe immunity itself is enough incentive.

When survey participants were asked – in general, what is their opinion of COVID-19 vaccinations and the workplace – responses included differing opinions:

Pro-workplace vaccination policy:

  • I think vaccinations should be mandatory for any job that requires human-to-human interaction.
  • I think everyone should get it because if they don't, we will be in this situation for a very long time.
  • I think if employees want to come back to the office, they should be required to get the vaccination first.
  • This is a public health crisis and companies should be doing everything possible to protect their workers and their families.
  • I am very excited about the COVID-19 vaccination and believe having workplaces developing policies around vaccine requirements is a way we can get back to normal more quickly.

Anti-workplace vaccination policy:

  • They should not be mandatory. People have a right to work and a right to choose what goes in their bodies; to be forced into a vaccination is wrong.
  • Workplaces that are not in health care should not be able to force you to have any vaccinations.
  • It should NOT be in the workplace. It is crossing the line of HIPAA.
  • It is a personal matter. If I choose not to take it, I should not be hearing negative feedback from superiors.
  • I personally want to get the vaccine, but I don't feel that a company has the right to choose for individuals’ health and make them get the vaccine.

Workplace COVID-19 Vaccine Policy Research Results

SMS Research Advisors, a division of Padilla, surveyed 1,026 people employed in the workforce of varying ages, positions/levels and industries in January 2021, with 8.4% of survey respondents working in health care. For the complete Spotlight Survey research findings visit

About Padilla

Padilla is an independently operated, globally resourced public relations and communication company with offices across the United States. The agency builds, grows, and protects brands and reputations worldwide by creating purposeful connections with the people who matter most through public relations, advertising, digital and social marketing, investor relations and brand strategy. Padilla includes the brand consultancy of Joe Smith, the food and nutrition experts at FoodMinds, and the research authorities at SMS Research Advisors. Clients include 3M, Avocados From Mexico, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Cargill Animal Nutrition, Dole Food Company, Mayo Clinic, Prosciutto di Parma, Rockwell Automation, Sanofi Pasteur, U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council and Winnebago Industries. Padilla is an AVENIR GLOBAL company and is a founding member of the Worldcom Public Relations Group, a partnership of 132 independently owned partner offices in 115 cities on six continents. Connect with purpose at

About SMS Research Advisors

As the independent market research firm of Padilla, SMS has helped clients make well-informed, strategic decisions about their organization and market for over 25 years. SMS offers full-suite research capabilities in quantitative and qualitative methodologies across a number of different industries, from manufacturing to health care to technology. SMS designs and conducts research that produces more than just data—it leads to real strategic solutions and drives tactical planning. SMS accomplishes this through a collaborative approach that leverages research expertise with clients’ industry and business experiences to create a highly actionable and effective research solution.

Julie Behr,

Source: Padilla

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