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Some business leaders are in favor of eventually requiring their employees to take Covid-19 vaccines.
Seventy-two percent of current and former CEOs of major companies signaled an openness to Covid-19 vaccine mandates, according to a poll held Tuesday at a virtual summit by the Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute.
However, several CEOs indicated that no such mandate had yet been formulated at their companies, and that they want to see how early rounds of vaccinations go before making formal plans. Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine has received emergency use authorization by the FDA, but has not been approved by the agency.
The Yale summit included business leaders from Walmart, Goldman Sachs, eBay, and other major companies.
“There was a surprising amount of openness to the idea of mandates for vaccines,” said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, founder of the Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute. “No one said they were ready yet.”
Some context: Legal experts say companies can require their employees to get vaccinated. Some jobs already have similar requirements. For example, hospitals may require workers to get flu or hepatitis B vaccines. However, companies may need to grant exemptions to workers on medical or religious grounds.
Still, Sonnenfeld said vaccine mandates can help companies promote a culture of safety.
“If a safe work environment is part of their culture and brand, more power to them,” he said.
Others think that vaccine mandates go a step too far.
“Business has a huge role to play in helping set the tone on the importance of vaccines,” said Mark Weinberger, the former CEO of EY and a director at MetLife and Johnson & Johnson. “But to say you’re going to be fired if you’re scared to death to take a vaccine, that’s a difficult position for CEOs to take.”