With millions of Americans out of work, and COVID-19 cases reaching around 200,000 per day in the U.S. according to the CDC, we all could use some good news as 2020 draws to a close. This good news has recently come in the form of the potential for a vaccine. The two vaccines, developed by pharmaceutical brands Pfizer and Moderna, had an initial efficacy rate of 94% in November.
Along with the good news naturally came questions as to how safe the vaccines were as well as how they’d affect our lives. The most significant thing for employers and employees is what a successful vaccine would mean for the workplace, and when we could all return to work. In this blog, we highlight five important things that employers should know about the vaccine and how it could impact their business.
The vaccine is available for limited distribution as of around mid-December
The first round of vaccines was recently authorized by the FDA for emergency approval. People at high risk of catching the virus, such as healthcare workers and the elderly, are expected to receive inoculation by the end of 2020. The vaccine could be available for the general public as early as Spring 2021. Nearly 3 million initial stage doses will be administered.
The vaccine is an important first step, but it’s just the beginning.
A potential 3 million at-risk Americans receiving the vaccine in its initial stage is promising new. However, many more people will be infected with the virus before the vaccine has a noticeable impact on the spread.
Even though the vaccines were rapidly approved by the FDA, they are safe for most people.
Vaccine manufacturers requested emergency approval from the FDA two months ago, which is the period of time required for proper safety data. Two months is the timeframe that adverse reactions could happen, and only about 5% of people given the first COVID-19 inoculations had side effects.
70 percent of the population must be inoculated for herd immunity to be achieved.
For the virus to slow significantly, there must be 70 percent of Americans receiving the vaccine. Unfortunately, many Americans are hesitant against vaccines largely due to internet-based disinformation, meaning many won’t be vaccinated even when it becomes available for everyone.
COVID-19 Vaccine: Bottom Line
Even if the initial inoculations are successful, it will still be another six months or so until enough vaccines are manufactured for the general public. For employers, this means remote working, mask-wearing, and social distancing will likely occur until summer 2021 at the earliest. It is a good idea to prepare your workplace healthcare and your business to continue operating remotely until the end of 2021.
Prodigy Can Help
As 2020 draws to a close, open enrollment will have also closed at the time of this writing. However, a stop-loss policy can be added to your self-funded healthcare plan at any time. If you need a consultation on how to add a stop-loss policy, give Prodigy a call today or fill out a form on our website. We look forward to talking with you.