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Utah businesses should consider vaccine policy, experts say

FILE: Mary Gallen, RN, giving a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to a Tooele County resident. Photo: Paul Nelson, KSL NewsRadio

SALT LAKE CITY — Experts say Utah companies and businesses need to consider whether they should have a policy in place for employees regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Attorney Ryan Parker with SixFifty spoke in a webinar with the Salt Lake Chamber on Wednesday. He said it may make more sense for some industries to require employees to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine, but others, especially with a large remote workforce, may not have the same requirements.  

“Frankly, I think it makes sense for businesses to think about who should be vaccinated and who shouldn’t be,” Parker said. 

Businesses may be able to fire employees who violate vaccine policy

One big question: whether businesses can fire employees who opt not to get the vaccine, or go against company policy. 

“Maybe,” he said. “And in many situations, the answer is yes.” 

At issue, he clarified, is whether that employee could pose a threat to the health or safety of others in the workplace. Parker noted that religious or medical exemptions may apply for employees with legitimate reasons for not receiving the vaccine. 

Marie Kulbeth, Six Fifty’s COO, says employers can inform employees about their vaccine options the same way many companies do during flu season. 

“One of the best ways to get the word out could be through employers,” she said. 

But others may want to explore either an official policy requiring the vaccine or at least encouraging it.

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others per CDC recommendations.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet).
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities).
  • Obtain a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

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