Companies should encourage their employees to get vaccinated for Covid through incentives, not mandates, said Wharton School professor Nancy Rothbard.
“There are many challenges with requiring employees to do something,” Rothbard said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box on Thursday.” “Any boss will tell you, it’s much more about convincing than telling.”
The question of whether employees should be given vaccines to return to the office has recently come into the picture, as approximately 3 million people in the US receive an injection every day. According to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly a quarter of the adult US population is fully vaccinated.
While many experts believe it is legal for employers to mandate vaccines, business leaders may be concerned about alienation from workforce.
“Really trying to incentivize people to get vaccinated, I think, will be a much more popular route than mandates,” said Rothbard, a management professor whose research focuses in part on work motivation and engagement.
Companies such as Tractor Supply offer employees one-time cash payments to encourage them to get a Covid vaccine. Target offers employees up to four hours of wages per hour – two hours for each dose for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which require two injections. Target also provides assistance with paying for Lyft rides to and from appointments.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the only other vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use in the US, is only one dose.
Companies should consider employee preferences regarding disclosure of vaccine status, Rothbard said, adding that some people are simply less comfortable sharing personal information of any kind with employers and colleagues.
“There are ways to do this more privately, where you might want to take an employee aside and say, ‘Look, have you been vaccinated? … If you haven’t, then we need to make alternative arrangements,’ because the safety of others, she offered.
The debate over workplace vaccine disclosure does not alter the need for Americans to get vaccinated to end the pandemic, Rothbard said. “The term ‘herd immunity’ implies that there are collective costs involved, not just an individual decision that people make when they choose to be vaccinated.”
Despite the importance, Rothbard stressed that incentives are likely to be effective in helping companies achieve high vaccination coverage for their workforce.
‘I have a newspaper called’ Mandatory Fun ‘. People don’t even like to be forced to have fun when they feel it’s not legitimate in the workplace, “she said.” People don’t respond well to mandates. They respond better to stimuli and encouragement. “
Vaccine proof for customers
Whether customers need to show proof of vaccination to get services at a business – like eating at a restaurant, for example – has become another contentious issue in the U.S. Some critics are concerned about civil liberty, while proponents of so-called vaccine passports say it demanding people to demonstrate that they have been vaccinated benefits public health, allowing the economy to be safely reopened.
Last week, the Republican Government of Florida, Ron DeSantis, signed an executive order prohibiting companies from requiring a customer to provide proof that they have received a Covid vaccine as a condition of service. In his warrant, DeSantis argues that Covid vaccine passports “reduce individual freedom and harm patient privacy.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbot issued a similar injunction on Tuesday banning state government and private entities receiving government funding from requiring Covid vaccine passports.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former FDA commissioner, told CNBC on Wednesday that he believes the conversation has been about verifying the base’s vaccine status.
“I think we’ve been thinking about vaccine passports through the wrong lens. I think the way they are likely to be used is, in fact, to create two access routes to different locations,” Gottlieb said in an interview on “Squawk Box.”
For people who cannot show they have been vaccinated, Covid testing may be required, along with secondary symptom screening, said Gottlieb, who is now on the board of vaccine manufacturer Pfizer.
“The other is going to be a fast lane, where if you can show that you’ve been vaccinated, you don’t have to bring evidence that you’ve been tested recently,” or have some sort of symptom check, Gottlieb said. .
“It becomes like an E-ZPass where you can go through the fast lane or if you still want to pay the toll booth because you think the police are following you with the E-ZPass device, then you can stop and queue up. stand up and pay the toll booth, ”he said.
Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a contributor to CNBC and serves on the boards of Pfizer, genetic testing start-up Tempus, healthcare technology company Aetion Inc. and biotech company IlluminaHe is also co-chair of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings‘ And Royal Caribbean‘s “Healthy Sail Panel.” The Associated Press contributed to this report.