Vaccine Information and Resources
for Employers

The development and distribution of vaccines is the light of the COVID-19 pandemic’s long, dark tunnel. As with most things these days, the vaccines are the subject of much discussion and debate both online and social media, which means there is an inevitable spread of misinformation that needs to be countered. Let’s start with one undeniable truth – it will take roughly 70 to 80 percent of the population – more than 200 million Americans – to be vaccinated before the herd immunity threshold is reached and the virus is no longer likely to spread. In order for that to happen, there needs to be a much greater percentage of people who are vaccine eligible to actually get vaccinated – meaning that there must be a commitment to countering myths with facts, educating populations who are experiencing vaccine skepticism, and of course, promoting vaccines in our workplaces and communities. Since the start of the pandemic, it has been our honor to seek out and provide employers with the most updated and fact-based information from trusted sources including the Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Chamber, the state Department of Health and more. The PA Chamber is dedicated to providing the same quality level of information regarding the pandemic as we work together to build healthier communities and a stronger economy.

On March 3, 2021, the Wolf administration and the COVID-19 Task Force announced a plan to prioritize distribution of the first round of single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines to Pre-K to 12 public and non-public school teachers, administrators, bus drivers, and other school support and contracted staff.  Further details on the allocation of these vaccines to teachers and school personnel is available here.

The CDC has developed health guidelines for those individuals who have received the vaccine.  According to the CDC, those who have been vaccinated can refrain from quarantining or testing following a known COVID-19 exposure if asymptomatic.  Additionally, fully vaccinated individuals can visit with other vaccinated individuals or those from single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 without wearing masks or social distancing.  However, the CDC recommends that vaccinated individuals continue to wear masks in public settings, practice social distancing and avoid large gatherings.  Additional information on the updated CDC guidelines can be found here.  The Pennsylvania Department of Health has since updated its masking order to align with CDC’s recommendations.

Below is a summary from the Wolf Administration of the updated Phases 1A, 1B, 1C, and Phase 2.  Full details, including all CDC-designated essential industry categories, are listed in the plan itself, which is available here.

Getting vaccinated will build healthier communities, which will lead to a stronger economy. PA Chamber President Gene Barr explains more.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health

Phase 1A was updated on March 31, 2021 to include law enforcement officers and staff, as well as probation and parole staff; firefighters; grocery store workers; and food and agriculture workers.

 

This vaccine phase also comprises healthcare workers, that include, but are not limited to: emergency medical service personnel, nurses, nursing assistants, physicians, dentists, dental hygienists, technicians, chiropractors, therapists, phlebotomists, pharmacists, health professions students and trainees, direct support professionals, clinical personnel in school settings or correctional facilities, contractual HCP not directly employed by the health care facility, and other persons when working in health care settings, such as regulatory staff who perform on-site assessments in hospitals and 1A long-term care facilities, long-term care ombudsmen, Older Adult Protective Services, Adult Protective Services and Child Protective Services staff that are required to do on-site assessments in hospitals and 1A long-term care facilities, and volunteer personnel not directly involved in patient care but potentially exposed to infectious material that can transmit disease among or from health care personnel and patients. Phase 1A also includes anyone over age 65 and people ages 16-64 with serious medical conditions that make them more at risk for severe illness due to COVID-19 – including people who have conditions like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, cancer, sickle cell disease and chronic kidney disease. Pregnant women are also included in this group.

  • People in congregate settings not otherwise specified as long-term care facilities, and persons receiving home and community-based services
  • Correctional officers and other workers serving people in congregate care settings not included in Phase 1A  
  • U.S. Postal Service workers
  • Manufacturing workers  
  • Education workers 
  • Clergy and other essential support for houses of worship 
  • Public transit workers
  • Individuals caring for children or adults in early childhood and adult day programs
  • Essential workers in these sectors:
    • Transportation and logistics
    • Water and wastewater
    • Food service
    • Housing construction
    • Finance, including bank tellers
    • Information technology
    • Communications
    • Energy, including nuclear reactors
    • Legal services
    • Federal, state, county and local government workers, including county election workers, elected officials and members of the judiciary and their staff
    • Media
    • Public safety
    • Public health workers

All individuals not previously covered who are 16 and older and do not have a contraindication to the vaccine (note that at this time, only the Pfizer-BioNTech product is approved for those age 16 and 17)

Resources for Employers

Join the U.S. Chamber’s “Rally for Recovery” commitment as we collectively work to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic!

The long-term economic recovery for Pennsylvania and the nation depends on safe and innovative strategies to deploy the life-saving COVID-19 vaccines broadly, and employers must play a pivotal role in this effort.  In partnership with government and public health agencies, employers can provide a key source of support when it comes to community access and engagement, addressing vaccine acceptance and other key factors for adoption.  

The U.S. Chamber has developed a digital resource center for job creators to aid in our collective goal of widespread distribution of the COVID vaccines.  On this site, employers can find helpful information on:

  • Developing a Vaccine Strategy
  • Communicating About Vaccines
  • Vaccine Safety & Efficacy Information
  • Worksite Clinic Resources

The distribution of COVID vaccines is a critical component to putting the pandemic in our collective review mirror and beginning the process of economic recovery.

Take this quiz to determine if you’re eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine

From the state Department of Health: 

The DOH’s goals while the vaccine supply remains limited are to maximize benefits and minimize harms caused by the virus, promote justice, mitigate health inequities, and promote transparency and prioritize populations accordingly.  DOH continues to receive feedback on this plan regarding prioritization, and the CDC indicates an intention to publish additional information on essential workers.  DOH will review and incorporate as necessary into future versions of the plan. 

The revised plan, as posted on the department’s website includes a feedback form for all interested parties to provide input to be considered by the Department of Health. This form helps to fulfill the administration’s goal of promoting transparency and making this dynamic process as inclusive as possible.