A new Free Press report into how various large Michigan companies have fared implementing Covid vaccine mandates features at least one taking the rare step of requiring boosters.
Data from the UK shows a two-shot vaccine regimen administered months ago offers almost no protection against the Omicron variant — though it helps prevent severe illness. But because the oft-stated rationale for vaccine mandates among companies and venues is to prevent spread, it's worth noting that doesn't really happen with two shots, and that even three offer limited protection from symptomatic cases. That peaks at about 63 percent, the UK data shows.
All this begs the question of if you're not going to mandate three, why mandate anything at all? It's not raised in the Free Press article, but we did reach out to ask Ford — which requires two shots of Pfizer or Moderna, one shot of Johnson & Johnson, or a clean test for most workers — and will update this with a response should we hear back.
The only company said to require boosters of seven mentioned in the article is Michigan Legacy Credit Union in Wyandotte, where CEO Carma Peters tells the paper: "To work here, you have to be fully vaccinated, including all boosters."
Rather than initially issue a mandate, she reportedly began by trying to incentivize workers with $200 Visa gift cards. When that only got the vaccination rate at her company of just under 100 employees to 70 percent, a mandate was instated, and up to ten employees were fired for failing to comply.
Peters said in May 2020, one of her longtime employees, a woman in her 30s, died of COVID-19.
The call to family "was the most difficult call I ever had to make in my life," she said. "And I knew at that point, I never wanted to make that call again."
In July, company leadership began communicating to staff that they were going to mandate the vaccine. Employees working in a branch had until the end of October to get vaccinated, while employees working remotely had until the end of the year.
"Honestly, we felt we were at risk to not mandate it because if an employee became sick at our workplace and sued us because we didn't have a safe work environment, that was more (of a) risk than losing people who would not be vaccinated," she said.
Three shots are required of both new hires and existing employees.